As I have been reporting for the past four months, in several dozen articles at American Thinker and The Hagmann Report, Fox News has been in trouble. Its fifteen-year-long ratings dominance began its slow erosion in the summer of 2016 when Roger Ailes, the co-founder and CEO of Fox News and the channel’s hands-on guiding force since it started in 1996, was ousted. A number of other prominent on-air personalities and executives have also been forced out. Their names include Bill O’Reilly, Eric Bolling, Bob Beckel, and Ailes’s key second in command, Bill Shine.
What were the allegations against these and other ousted individuals? Press accounts, many of them citing anonymous sources, some of them completely un-sourced, that suggested sexual harassment, racial insensitivity, and other PC “crimes.” No one was ever actually charged with anything actionable and nothing was ever proven beyond a reasonable doubt. No one had a chance to face his accusers. No one had his day in court.
The biggest take down was Bill O’Reilly, not only Fox News’ #1 on-air personality but the host of the highest rated show on all of cable television news for the previous fifteen years running. As Sean Hannity, Fox News’ most popular host now, said in May, O’Reilly’s enemies, employing tactics of an advertising boycott, had delivered a “kill shot” to O’Reilly. Many of the same far left individuals and organizations are now targeting Sean Hannity and will likely focus on other conservative or fair and balanced Fox News hosts as they rise in prominence.
With Roger Ailes gone and Fox News co-founder Rupert Murdoch, 86, gradually ceding his control, Murdoch’s sons James and Lachlan, both in their 40s, are assuming greater power over the family business, 21st Century Fox and Fox News. The sons, commonly known as the “Murdoch Boys,” are much more liberal than their conservative old man, as are their high-power wives. This situation does not bode well for the future of Fox News. For example, in recent history, it has been widely reported that the Boys and their wives convinced Rupert Murdoch to cut O’Reilly loose in April 2017 when Rupert was initially disinclined to do so.
But just as we may have gotten a reprieve from imminent cultural, ideological, and political disaster in November 2016 with the election of Donald J. Trump, a spate of unexpected good news has recently arisen regarding Fox News.
On September 18, Fox News confirmed – as I reported exclusively here five weeks earlier – that its prime time schedule would soon reflect a major positive change. Out would be the increasingly unwatchable program The Five, sent back to its original 5 P.M. E.T. time slot. Conservative Sean Hannity would move to 9 P.M. to directly challenge reigning left wing cable news queen Rachel Maddow on MSNBC at the same hour. Moving into Hannity’s slot at 10 P.M. starting on October 30 will be reliable and popular conservative radio and TV host, analyst, and publisher Laura Ingraham.
On Thursday September 21, Fox made another scheduling announcement, and this one was a real surprise: Also starting up on October 30 will be a brand new nightly show: Fox News @ Night featuring Shannon Bream. Bream’s program will air live at 11 P.M. E.T., following The Ingraham Angle. Previously, the 11 P.M. hour has always been reserved for a replay of what was on three hours earlier.
The article below details this latest announced change in the Fox News schedule, which begins incrementally starting next Monday September 25 with Sean Hannity moving to 9 P.M. and concluding five weeks later on October 30.
Key points to keep in mind:
- The survival of Fox News as a conservative fair and balanced news source is critically important. An information war is now on. It’s an active conflict and a war of attrition. There are many fronts to this war, including the alternative media and the mainstream media (MSM). The latter has been almost entirely taken over or totally influenced by forces friendly to the Shadow Government and the Deep State. As such, it has become little more than a reliable “Fake News” propaganda mouthpiece for the central government. In contrast, Fox News is the only fair and balanced MSM outlet that remains. If it can be neutralized or taken down, it will be a major loss to the First Amendment. The negative ramifications of the take down or neutralization of Fox News can hardly be imagined.
- Fox News’ schedule will soon be live between 6 P.M. and 12 midnight. No more canned replays during that time.
- At least three evening hosts – Hannity at 9, Ingraham at 10, and Bream at 11 – are unapologetic Christians.
- Gone from prime time is the chronic irritant, leftist ideologue Juan Williams, who previously held forth ad nauseam on The Five at 9 P.M.
This past week starting on September 18 was a big one for news at Fox News as the channel shuffled its nighttime program schedule, moving Hannity to 9 P.M. and adding a new show with Laura Ingraham starting October 30 at 10. On Thursday, there was another major announcement: also on October 30, following Ingraham’s new program, a new live late-evening hour devoted to hard news will debut at 11 P.M. Fox News @ Night will be anchored by veteran Fox News correspondent, host, and anchor Shannon Bream.
Bream, an attorney, transitioned to television reporting and anchoring in 2000, and she has worked for Fox News since 2007. For more than half of that time, based in Washington, D.C., Bream was the channel’s Supreme Court reporter, frequently doing live on air reports about a variety of legal issues, and occasionally guest-hosting FNC programs. Most recently, Bream co-anchored a live, daily two-hour morning program, America’s Newsroom, with Bill Hemmer from Fox News studios in New York.
Jay Wallace, the channel’s president of news, made the announcement:
Fox News @ Night will be a live hour of hard news and analysis of the most compelling stories from Washington and across the country. With news breaking at all hours – and often late into the evening – the show will provide viewers with the very latest must-see information from FNC’s deep bench of correspondents and experts. It will function as a capstone on today’s most consequential news, with an eye toward setting the table for tomorrow’s ever-changing developments.
In addition to practicing law and working in television news for almost two decades, Shannon Bream’s experience includes competing in the 1991 Miss America pageant as a top-ten finalist (Miss Virginia) and in the 1995 Miss USA pageant as Miss Florida, where she came in fourth. She told Glamour magazine for an article in 2012 that her earnings from the pageants paid for her last two years of college and all three years of law school.
In a 2012 article about her in the Charlotte Observer, Bream credited the pageants with helping her shape her presentation skills:
I had horrible stage fright before Miss America. I’m a classical pianist by training. It’s one thing to play in your teacher’s house, but another to play in front of 80 million people on TV. But I got over my jitters. It was a great learning experience for a 19-year-old, something I would never have had otherwise.
Shannon Bream is very open about her deep Christian faith. In 2013, she was the first female graduate of Liberty University to deliver the school’s commencement address. Her new, more prominent profile at Fox News now will likely continue to rile enemies of Fox like Media Matters, which has attacked Bream many times for her Christian beliefs.
To view Shannon Bream’s 2013 commencement address (20 minute video), please click here.
It is clear that Shannon Bream is the third openly Christian host on Fox News’s evening schedule. Both Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham (the hosts at 9 and 10 P.M.) express pride in their Christian beliefs. Ingraham wears a gold cross during every TV appearance.
The addition of a live hour of news to Fox News’s evening schedule is significant for a number of reasons. Previously, the 11 P.M. E.T. hour featured a repeat of the 8 P.M. show – recently, Tucker Carlson Tonight and before that, The O’Reilly Factor. Since it’s only 8 P.M. in the Pacific time zone, it has been frustrating for some viewers in the West to have a canned show on at that hour, especially on nights when news is breaking. Now they will have the benefit of an hour of live news five nights a week.
At MSNBC, currently FNC’s major competition, a live hour of news at 11 P.M. E.T. premiered in September 2016, The 11th Hour with Brian Williams. It was billed as a temporary program to last through the fall 2016 election season, but, enjoying good ratings, it has continued to air with no signs of ending its run. On most nights, Brian Williams beats FNC’s Tucker Carlson repeat in the national ratings. By introducing its own live hard news show at the end of the day to go head to head with Williams, the inference to be drawn is that Fox News is serious about challenging MSNBC in the latest incarnation of the ongoing cable news ratings war of attrition.
Meanwhile, another hour of Fox News in the evening is pledging to go live: Hannity when it moves to 9 P.M. on Monday, September 25. During the past four years at 10 P.M., Sean Hannity has usually pre-recorded his nightly program several hours before it aired, except on nights when there was breaking news that required a live broadcast. Hannity tweeted on September 18 that his show at 9 P.M. is designed to air live.
In the key five hours of nightly programming (7 P.M. to 12 midnight M-F), three of the hours at Fox News will be anchored by women (Ingraham and Bream joining Martha MacCallum, who does a live show at 7 P.M.) and two by men (Carlson and Hannity). At the other two cable news channels, only one woman is represented on each of them during those hours (Erin Burnett on CNN at 7 P.M. and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC at 9 P.M.).
It’s encouraging to see more live hard news broadcasts making a comeback, or at least gaining a new foothold, on the cable news channels during the evening hours. For the first two decades of cable news, after the launch of CNN in 1980 (joined by MSNBC and Fox News in 1996), news was the star, and much of the schedule, especially at CNN, was live 24/7. To stand out, Fox News pioneered a more personality-driven format and made stars out of program hosts like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and later on Megyn Kelly. With Fox News rising to the top of the ratings, MSNBC and CNN followed suit. The new top stars of cable news became marquee attractions and were each compensated to the tune of $5 to $25 million annually. With corporate eyes ever on the bottom line, however, there were fewer resources to maintain foreign and domestic news bureaus and behind-the-scenes talent (producers, writers, editors, etc.). It would be nice to see that pendulum begin to move at least incrementally back in the other direction.
Peter Chowka is a widely published author and journalist. He writes most frequently these days for American Thinker and The Hagmann Report. His Web site is AltMedNews.net. Follow Peter on Twitter. Peter’s latest video appearance on The Hagmann Report on September 19, 2017 can be watched here.