Fox News's in-house feminist Megyn Kelly is getting a much-deserved promotion to the cable network's primetime lineup, with four (or five or six) big name hosts, are there enough hours in the schedule to hold them all?
Kelly, who currently holds down the mid-afternoon slot for the 24-hour news network, is about to go on her third maternity leave and according to today's press release, when she returns to work she will be in a new nighttime role. Naturally, that led to some speculation about who is moving out to make room for her. The 8 p.m. hour currently belongs to Bill O'Reilly's show, Sean Hannity has 9 to 10 p.m., and those are two of the three most popular shows on all of cable news.
But Greta Van Susteren, who normally hosts the third hour of the night, has the sixth-best rated show and has no reason to be shoved out. (Actually, FOX has locked up all of the top 13 slots. Kelly's daytime show, America Live, is ninth.) All four of these stars (along with Shepard Smith and Brett Baier, who hold down the 6-8 p.m. hours) were all recently locked up in long-term contracts. So now what?
Well, when Kelly signed her new contract back in March, New York Times cable news guru Brian Stelter reported that Van Susteren was considering a time shift, possibly to daytime, in part because her husband (who is also her lawyer) had been diagnosed with cancer. But that appeared to be his wish not hers. After the news of Kelly's promotion broke today, Van Susteren put a post on her blog titled, "Let Me Stop the Rumors." In it, she writes, "I am not going anywhere. I have a long term contract with Fox and it is for a show in 'prime time.'" Emphasis hers.
The only option we see is a co-hosting gig, or perhaps they dump the 11:00 p.m. O'Reilly Factor re-run for a brand-new late night show. But late-night is not prime time and any way you slice that (8-to-11 or 6-to-11), it seems Fox News has more highly-paid hosts than there are hours in the day. Let the battle begin.