My first thought upon seeing this was that, faced with choosing between Eric Bolling and Dana Perino, Fox decided, “Why not both?”
Turns out that’s wrong, though.
Fox News sources: Tucker Carlson at 8pm, The Five moves to 9pm. Starting Monday 4/24.
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) April 19, 2017
Fox later confirmed that “The Five” is in fact moving to 9 p.m. — but not with Bolling. The official release:
FOX NEWS: TUCKER CARLSON TO MOVE TO 8PM SLOT, THE FIVE SHIFTS TO 9PM pic.twitter.com/iFSBV4fkoY
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) April 19, 2017
Bolling’s getting his own show at 5 p.m. Replacing him on “The Five” (which is actually the six) is Jesse Watters, known for the “Watters World” man-on-the-street bits he did for O’Reilly. A source who used to work at Fox emailed me earlier this afternoon to say that Watters probably stood the most to lose from O’Reilly’s termination since “Watters World” wouldn’t fit on any other show. Eh, I don’t know about that; I can imagine Tucker running it periodically as comic relief. Doesn’t matter now, though, as it turns out Watters is moving on to bigger things. I’m surprised Fox is so invested in him that they’d give him a role as plum as being a regular on the new “Five,” but there you go. Bolling, meanwhile, is obviously being groomed as a potential replacement at 9 if this experiment with a freewheeling panel show between Tucker and Hannity doesn’t work out. (Could America handle Bolling and Hannity back to back?) I assume it will, though: “The Five” has always pulled strong ratings and Fox News viewers are probably more loyal to the brand than to individual hosts. If you’re a conservative who regularly watched Megyn Kelly and then Tucker at 9, where are you going to go if you find that “The Five” is less your speed? To Anderson Cooper? C’mon. To Rachel Maddow? Nope. You’ll stick it out.
It’s going to be an odd change of pace, though, shifting from the pro-Trump/punch-a-liberal theatrics of Tucker to the rapid-fire friendly combat of “The Five” back to the pro-Trump/punch-a-liberal theatrics of Hannity. It’s red meat followed by a salad followed by more red meat. But like I say, if it doesn’t work out — and it’s hard to imagine any Fox show at 9 not working out — they’ve got Bolling warming up his pro-Trump/punch-a-liberal theatrics in the bullpen, ready to relieve.