You don’t need to be a network executive to understand the play here. On December 9 I wrote this, after news broke that Greg Kelly of Newsmax had outdrawn MacCallum among the 25-54 demographic during the 7 p.m. hour on Monday, December 7. Quote:
In a sense, Kelly versus MacCallum is an unfair fight. Kelly is Newsmax’s best-known polemicist, the guy who’s benefited the most from the surge in righty interest in the network. MacCallum is the last “news” hour of Fox’s day before the network’s own mega-rated team of polemicists takes to the air. If you’re looking for red meat during the 7 p.m. hour and you just can’t wait until Tucker comes on, it’s no contest: Kelly will deliver more than MacCallum. Which makes me wonder if Fox isn’t going to have to switch to an alternate-reality polemicist of its own at 7 to claw back some of those Kelly viewers.
I think Fox was worried that too many MAGA fans hungry for outrage were turning the dial at 7 to get a dose of it from Kelly and not all of them were turning back in time for Tucker at 8. Solution: Start the outrage programming on their own network an hour earlier and move MacCallum to the hard-news ghetto of daytime hours. It feels like a bad sign, five days after the Capitol was sacked, that Fox has concluded, “We’re not riling people up enough,” but here we are. Poor Martha!