Reacting to reporting that Fox News is expected to change its prime-time schedule to highlight Sean Hannity, Jesse Watters, and Greg Gutfeld, conservative media are ganging up against the network.
On May 17, The Drudge Report suggested that Fox News is planning shakeups in its prime-time lineup following Tucker Carlson’s unexpected ouster last month. The reported lineup would move host Sean Hannity to Carlson’s former 8 PM slot and promote hosts Jesse Watters and Greg Gutfeld to prime time with the 9 PM and 10 PM slots. With this lineup change, it’s unclear where Laura Ingraham’s show The Ingraham Angle — which currently airs at 10 PM — will move.
Since Carlson’s ouster from Fox — which came right on the heels of the network’s record-breaking settlement with Dominion Voting Systems over election lies — the network has been scrambling to recover from weeks of plummeting ratings. Fox has attempted to rehab the 8 PM slot with rotating guest hosts including Brian Kilmeade, Lawrence Jones, and Kayleigh McEnany, but ratings have dropped 50% in Tucker’s absence. And while Fox flounders to correct its course, right-wing competitor Newsmax is seeing a rise in popularity, even recently overtaking CNN in prime-time ratings following its much-criticized town hall with former President Donald Trump.
Though Fox has insisted that “no decision has been made on a new prime-time line-up,” non-Fox conservative media are attacking the network over the reported programming shuffle, claiming that it’s evidence of Fox’s backslide.
- Newsmax’s Eric Bolling commented that “Fox is desperate, window-dressing by moving hosts around, shuffling hosts around like deck chairs on the Titanic, but it won’t work." His guest, former Fox News host Glenn Beck added, “When [I] left,Megyn Kelly and [Bill] O'Reilly left, you know, we got over it. Yeah but I think [Fox] has run out of a lot of your fans that have trusted you for a long time.”
- On her radio show, former Fox host Megyn Kelly stated that “Hannity is not the answer at 8. … He hasn’t been the answer at 9 PM since Tucker left.”
- Rumble host Mike Crispi tweeted, “Tucker: thoughtful, in-depth, writes his own monologues, cannot be told what to say,” adding, “Hannity: intellectually lazy, can tell he’s reading lines written for him for the first time while on air, follows orders from above and cashes checks Nice, Fox!”
- Podcast host Kevin Jackson tweeted: “LOL @FoxNews! #Hannity is Tucker's spot? Retread Central. Shouldn't have fired the REAL talent, you SKANKS!”
- “Kane” from the Citizen Free Press told Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk that he thought the prime-time lineup is being shaken up “out of panic,” adding, “Hannity does some good stuff … but he's not going to replace Tucker at 8 o'clock.”
- BlazeTV’s Steve Deace ironically said, “I'm actually glad that this is the replacement,” because Hannity is “the ultimate GOP soulless shill” and “everybody knows [he] will toe the line.”
- Right-wing blog RedState criticized Fox’s new lineup and Carlson’s firing, writing that the new changes are unlikely “to convince people to come back if they’re disturbed about what happened to Tucker.” The piece also called the Fox’s split with Carlson “disastrous” and noted that taking away Ingraham’s prime-time slot is “likely to tick off her viewers.”
- While appearing on former Fox Business host Trish Regan’s podcast, former Newsmax host Benny Johnson called Tucker Carlson Tonight “the only show that actually broke through with Fox with the younger demographic and actual dynamic audience.” Johnson added, “Replacing Tucker with Sean Hannity: that ain’t the move.” Though Regan praised Hannity as a “wonderful guy,” she noted the reported lineup change is “not the future if that makes sense. Maybe there is no future in that medium.”