Fox News Ponders Major Post Tucker Carlson Primetime Shakeup: Sean Hannity Moves to 8 p.m., Laura Ingraham Out (Breathless Reports)
Fox News is reportedly looking to finish cleaning house and stabilizing its primetime lineup in the wake of devastating revelations tied to its expensively settled Dominion Voting Systems legal battle.
Citing unnamed inside sources, the Drudge Report has advanced an earlier story from the Penske Showbiz Trades suggesting major changes to Fox News' primetime lineup are being considered.
According to Drudge, longtime Fox News primetime presence Sean Hannity will move up one hour from 9 p.m. to 8 p.m., the fired Tucker Carlson's old time slot; Jesse Waters will move from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.; and Greg Gutfeld will shift from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m., the slot currently occupied by Laura Ingraham.
Meanwhile, reports circulated on Twitter Wednesday afternoon that Ingraham, whose text messages, along with Carlson's, factored into the $787.5 million Dominion settlement, has not just been bumped from primetime, but fired from the network.
UPDATED: After this article was initially published Wednesday, Fox News gave Next TV this statement: “Reports based on various tweets by left wing activists are wildly inaccurate -- Laura Ingraham, the top-rated woman in cable news, is now and will continue to be a prominent host and integral part of the Fox News lineup."
Quoting an unnamed Fox source, Drudge said Fox News is planning to very soon announce its "ambitious new schedule," one in which "every hour of primetime will change."
Also read: Tucker Carlson Announces New Twitter Show, May Have Breached His Still-Active Fox News Contract in the Process
So far, Fox has issued one statement on the matter, saying, “No decision has been made on a new primetime line-up and there are multiple scenarios under consideration.”
Fox fired Carlson, its most watched on-air presence, last month following a steady string of controversies and dwindling participation in his primetime show by premium advertisers.
Fox News' ratings performance declined around 50% in the key adults 25-54 audience demo in the immediate aftermath of Carlson's final April 21 show.
Speaking Wednesday morning at MoffettNathanson’s Inaugural Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in New York, Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch expressed confidence that his channel will successfully transition away from Carlson. (That event was covered by another Penske showbiz trade brand.)
“We’ve done it before, right? You know, Bill O’Reilly was a superstar. Megyn Kelly was a superstar. Glenn Beck was a superstar, and we’re able to move forward with programming decisions that ultimately result in long term growth and profitability of the business,” Murdoch said.
With the Dominion matter behind it, Fox is preparing to defend itself from another libel suit filed against it be a separate voting machine maker, Smartmatic, which claims Fox News' coverage of the 2020 election and subsequent January 6 Insurrection led to its brand being inaccurately impugned on the channel.
Meanwhile, down the street at Madison Avenue, Fox advertising executives have worked this week's Upfront meetings to assure brand marketers that the network's new primetime lineup will be safe from things like white nationalism and other corrosive elements that the far right Carlson was widely alleged to have courted during is nightly 8 p.m. talk hour.
Activist groups, however, have also infiltrated the Upfront scene, trying to counter-message that narrative. This includes grassroots Republican org The Lincoln Project.
“Jesse Waters, Brian Kilmeade, Sean Hannity, are not serious people. They are nothing more than mouthpieces in Murdoch’s right-wing propaganda machine," said Reed Galen, Lincoln Project co-founder, in a statement. "The real truth is that [Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch] hasn’t changed his mind about the direction of the company. Brands need to ask themselves if they want to be associated with an even more extremist version of Fox News.”