FNC Shows Rare Example of “Scramble Mode”…

TVNewser’s Chris Ariens writes about FNC’s Beck replacement show called “The Five”…

The show, a “The View”-like ensemble program, will feature a roundtable of five Fox News personalities from among the network’s deep bench of hosts and analysts, including Greg Gutfeld, Juan Williams, Dana Perino, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Geraldo Rivera, Andrea Tantaros, Eric Bolling, Monica Crowley, Bob Beckel and Kimberly Guilfoyle.

In a news release, FNC says the program will also feature added guests, including politicians, celebrities, sports figures and key newsmakers. The show is expected to run at least through the summer.

It’s going to be airing on FNC so it should debut at the #1 position for the hour by default and probably stay there. Such is the power of the network and its ability to retain large numbers of viewers. But, having said that, this is probably the most uninspiring offering FNC has put on the air since…well I was going to say The Pulse…but that didn’t actually air on FNC.

FNC is apparently out of new ideas and unsure of a future course of action regarding 5pm. Why else take the equivalent of The Strategy Room and put it on TV with a wider subject spectrum but only guarantee that it will run through the summer? FNC had months to prepare for the day it would be without Beck and this is the best it could come up with? The TV programming equivalent of a band-aid? Talk about a half hearted endorsement. Nobody involved in this project should feel too secure about its future when the press release announcing it spells out that it has a short shelf life. This is FNC in a rare public manifestation of scramble mode…coming up with something to fill the space without regard to the suitability of that kind of programming at that time of day.

What’s more noteworthy is what’s not said in this release. What’s not said is that FNC wants to move Napolitano off of FBN and into what many, myself included, would consider to be the best slot for him at FNC as the replacement show for 5pm. Either FNC is not convinced its a good fit (highly doubtful) or that Roger Ailes doesn’t want to upset FBN’s prime time at this juncture – a not insignificant point. Whatever the reason, the obvious choice for 5pm on FNC is not, as of now, the choice for 5pm on FNC.

And while we wait to see what FNC does end up doing at 5pm after the summer ends, we get “The Five”. A freewheeling roundtable View like show sandwiched between a business news/politics show (Your World) and another politics show (Special Report). Remember that old Sesame Street bit “one of these things doesn’t look like the others”? Well that would be The Five. It’s an oddball fit for that time period…so oddball it sticks out like a sore thumb. I don’t think it will last. Oh sure, it’ll probably still win its timeslot going away but I think FNC will come up with something else, something better, to replace it.

Update: The New York Times’ Brian Stelter tweeted the following…

By bringing on a rotating cast at 5 p.m., Fox News avoids any direct ratings comparisons between Glenn Beck and a single replacement.

True. But that’s an awful lot of legwork to go through just to avoid direct comparisons between Beck and a single host replacement…especially when Beck himself was already under assault with direct ratings comparisons to his show from a year ago.

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45 Responses to “FNC Shows Rare Example of “Scramble Mode”…”

  1. “We’ve already got them on the payroll, and they’re always complaining that they don’t get enough face-time. It’s perfect!”

  2. I’m reminded of the phase out of The Big Story into the short lived program Ingraham got for the hour, then followed by the equivalent of Fox News Live during the election buildup. It cycled through people, but also, it didn’t have much to do with Cavuto or Hume at the time.

    As for what’s coming, unless they manage to find some other talent outside of their tent, Napolitano or Bolling will probably end up with the hour. About no one else listed really sounds capable.

  3. Grandpa Dave Says:

    Yes, it’s filler. But unlike a new star anchor it’s expendable in fall when, I still think, FNC will expand Special Report. By fall there will probably be enough real Election News to fill the time, not just today’s “gaffe-o-rama”.

  4. missy5537 Says:

    This is just horrible. Beck’s program was phenomenal and he brought us current news as well as historical facts that have never even been mentioned by others! His audience loves him, his show is #1 in its time slot and #2 on the network. So he quits!

    Why he is doing this prior to the most important presidential election in history is a mystery to me. His “teachings” and POV would have been critical in getting the elecorate to know the issues, but we have no one to fill that gap as of now. His program was unique like no other.

    As a GB fan, this is a sad, sad day. The people mentioned above might put on a watchable program, but nothing like what Beck has done. I had hoped they’d just give the Judge this time,slot, but it sounds like just another “panel” that seems to be on constantly.

    While the libs and people who do’t like him call him crazy, this is the only insane thing about Beck. He is bailing out WAY too early, to the detriment of our country.

  5. joeremi Says:

    “All of those people” clamoring for Napolitano to get the hour are delusional. He’s a bombastic bore. Extend Special Report, or admit that Megyn does opinion and put her in there.

  6. joeremi Says:

    Beck is leaving because be turned into an end times fanatic, and Ailes got fed up. No mystery there.

  7. I think it’s a great idea as a hold-over until they start up election coverage programming. I assume Hemmer & Kelly might get their election show again and after the first Tuesday of November ’12 there will be a space for a whole new programme.

  8. the most important presidential election in history

    I’ve been hearing that phrase every presidential election for the past 20 years Missy. It’s getting tired now…

    And I think that if FNC wanted to extend Special Report to two hours they would have gone ahead and done that rather than go through the trouble of putting The Five on the air.

    Prior to Beck getting that hour I would have thought Megyn Kelly would be a shoe in. Now I think Napolitano is the best fit and I don’t think Kelly will be going off of 1-3.

  9. motownman Says:

    The Judge is just as nutty as Beck is
    He’s staying on FBN
    Megyn to 5
    Martha to AL
    Aly to AN
    Molly on Saturday F&FW
    Ainsley on Sunday F&FW
    Everybody’s happy

  10. stevemg Says:

    Glenn Beck is Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. next to Judge Napolitano.

    He is just…well…let’s just say the Hubble Telescope can’t find him sometimes.

  11. I actually think this show might be quite entertaining. There’s a whole lot of very large egos fighting for attention and air time.

    On the surface it’s looks like a Fox News version of ‘The View’ but I think a FNC version of ‘Morning Joe’ is a better model with everyone trying to be Joe; or Barbara if your more inclined to the ‘View’ as a model. Who moderates the group and who produces will be key to how it works out.

    The set will also be interesting: sofas? chairs? table? line/crescent or facing each other.

  12. They’ll NEVER split up FnF Weekend anchoring with two different female anchors and leave the males the same. Won’t happen.

    What does FNC gain by moving Megyn to 5pm? It’s not like her 1-3 show isn’t already tailored to her. Maybe it pulls down some more eyeballs than the 1-3 but the placement isn’t that much better than the 1-3. It would be considered a marginal promotion.

    The Judge may or may not be just as “nutty” as Beck but he gets viewers and makes waves. Say what you want about Beck, and I wasn’t a fan, but he showed that the conventional programming wisdom could be rendered antiquated at 5pm. So why go back to a more traditional format that a Kelly would bring?

    Napolitano is no Beck. And what I mean by that is he’s far less likely to go off the rails and make life uncomfortable for FNC the way Beck regularly did.

  13. I actually think this show might be quite entertaining. There’s a whole lot of very large egos fighting for attention and air time.

    In the lexicon of TV programming we call that “a train wreck waiting to happen”.

    Your Morning Joe analogy is interesting but there’s a big difference. Everyone knew that Morning Joe was about Joe. They didn’t assemble the team and let them compete with each other to become Joe. The pecking order was established from the very beginning. And you need that kind of pecking order in an ensemble show or else things become awkward quickly (see: Parker/Spitzer)

  14. joeremi Says:

    Napolitano will go a long way towards keeping libs away from 5pm. 6,7,8 and 10 are all tolerable to varying degrees for non-conservatives. Beck and Hannity were/are useless. The Judge is more of the same.

  15. mlong5000 Says:

    They need to put Red Eye in Beck place….not only will FOX get great ratings but it’ll will be a great finger in the eye to Media Matters who think they scored some great victory by Beck leaving.

  16. theFoxFanatic Says:

    Megyn Kelly is in the running, why else would they alter Aly Camerota, Martha MacCallum, Gretchen Carlson, and (to a lesser extent) Shannon Bream from their regular gigs if they weren’t trying out the ‘America Live’ potential replacements? Here’s why they are reluctant, when she makes her next program shift FNC doesn’t want it to be at 5p, next stop is primetime (cough, The Kelly Factor.or cough On the Record w/ Megyn Kelly). That being said Judge Napolitano is too valuable of an asset to FBN imho to be transitioned to FNC full time. Eric Bolling is way too risky. Placing a hard news program doesn’t make sense UNLESS September will bring the new America’s Election HQ (weekday edition). Special Report just doesn’t work well as a 2 hour show. So then, if it isn’t Megyn, who else? Just some speculation.. (my apologies for the long post)

  17. joeremi Says:

    Uhh..you got better ideas for America Live fill-ins? It’s two very visible hours five days a week; they’re not gonna staff it with weather girls ’til Megyn gets back..

  18. theFoxFanatic Says:

    My point is this. Why not just take Martha, stick her at 1p for the entire time Megyn is on leave and have Aly fill in on America’s Newsroom. 4 different people over one continuous span seems to be a bit much. And hmm, Maria Molina hosting America Live doesn’t sound too bad, I would watch.

  19. joeremi Says:

    Having a rotation prevents hostility in the ranks. Take a good look in Shannon Bream’s eyes and tell me she wouldn’t have something to say about Martha getting the gig instead of her..

  20. “And you need that kind of pecking order in an ensemble show or else things become awkward quickly”

    ^That’s why i feel it would be entertaining.

    Actually I see a lot of personality crossovers in the MJ/The Five; Perino could play Mika; Gutfeld would be Willie; Geraldo plays Donnie D.; Becktel would be Barnicle; the Judge is Buchanan and Bolling, of course, is Scarborough.

  21. theFoxFanatic Says:

    Fair enough. That being said, Shannon hasn’t been in all that much for Megyn, and one of the few times she was, one of the panelists walked off the set. As side note, I agree with you, people like Beck and Hannity alienate the viewers- makes it hard for moderates and liberals to watch.

  22. jackyboy Says:

    Then why not change the channel when Beck or Hannity is on? It’s like people are forcing themselves to watch shows they don’t like just to hate it.

  23. joeremi Says:

    The point, which I thought was patently obvious, is that shows with broader appeal have a shot at better ratings. Beck lost a lot of viewers in his last year, and I don’t see Napolitano getting them back.

  24. motownman Says:

    I also think the Judge works better on FBN, where they have kind of a liberterian bent. As for not splitting F&FW, why are they splitting it now? Talk about disessension in the ranks, Spud. Both Ainsley and Molly were seldom used for a LONG time, and now each has a window of opportunity, So Ailes is going to shut BOTH of the down and tell them to be happy being seen only on the graveyard shift (Ainsley) or once in a blue moon when anything happens in Boston (Molly)? Ailes is pretty good at handling stuff like this. Witness how he gave Harris Faullkner the weekend FR after she lost HN to Jenna Lee. I think there would be a LOT more unhappy campers at Fox if they just put Megyn back on AL. Plus 5 p.m. is an opinion slot and we all know that’s where Megyn belongs, anyway. If I had my druthers I’d give Ainsley F&FW, but I’d ragther see her once a week than only in the middle of the night.

  25. starbroker Says:

    This show makes perfect sense because Megyn will be getting the 5:00 pm show.

    This is a great opportunity for them to move Megyn up for when she will eventually take Greta’s spot in 2-3 years.

    If Judge Andrew was going to get the time slot, they’d just move him in there now. Andrew is only good in smalll doses.

  26. ^ Hell freezes over..

  27. As side note, I agree with you, people like Beck and Hannity alienate the viewers- makes it hard for moderates and liberals to watch.

    That may be true but from a ratings standpoint it’s irrelevant. Beck brought in more viewers than he drove away.

    This show makes perfect sense because Megyn will be getting the 5:00 pm show.

    This is a great opportunity for them to move Megyn up for when she will eventually take Greta’s spot in 2-3 years.

    I wouldn’t classify it as moving Megyn up. It’s not a major promotion. She already is soloing for two hours. Now if she gets the 5 she’ll be soloing for only one hour. FNC doesn’t break out the numbers for dayside so I don’t know what Kelly was doing in the ratings from 1-3. But any ratings increase she may see at the early prime hour of 5 won’t be that great and certainly not what a firebrand like Beck or Napolitano could do.

    I would keep Kelly at 1-3 and move her directly to 10 when Greta retires/is forced out. I would keep 5pm in the hands of the raging ideologues because they’re more likely to generate higher numbers.

  28. would keep 5pm in the hands of the raging…

    And it’s 5pm… Spud’s making logic that’s hard to argue. I still think after the election, though.

  29. I wonder if Alan Colmes will be on this show. It’s a better fit for him than News Watch.

    I expected FNC to expand Special Report to two hours. I still think they might, perhaps they need to figure out how exactly they will do that.

    This show sounds like it could be terrible, or it could be really great. There needs to be a designated moderator, whoever that might be.

  30. FNC has a tough choice. Expanding SR makes sense, particularly with the election season heating up. It could be temporary, or it could be permanent.

    Megyn Kelly would be a good choice, but she already is doing well where she’s at. Her move to 5 would put a big hole in dayside news programming, at a time when she’s increased the ratings.

    Judge Napolitano would be a good choice, but he’s the best host in FBN’s prime time. His move to FNC would leave a big hole, just as FBN is starting to see some real ratings growth.

    Eric Bolling would be a terrible choice. He would be just as controversial as Beck and difficult to control.

    Red Eye would also be a terrible choice. I love that show, but it succeeds in part because it is on so late. 11 PM eastern would be a better slot if FNC wanted to move it.

    The Five avoids the problems inherent with relocating a current host while delaying the permanent replacement in order to make sure the replacement show is solid.

    In my view, FNC is giving itself more time to prepare for a two-hour SR. The show will need to change a bit so it works as a two-hour program. Summer is a bad time to launch a permanent replacement.

  31. [...] well received. To wit, Inside Cable News was not the least bit impressed. Rather, blogger Spud scoffed, “This is probably the most uninspiring offering FNC has put on the air….FNC is [...]

  32. What people seem to be forgetting when discussing Megyn Kelly is that she’s the mother of 2 babies, so it’s not likely that she’s going to be working evenings or nights for at least a few years. Do you people not know any women, other than your mothers?

  33. I’ve known lots of women over the years who, as mothers of babies, have worked evenings or midnights. There are both advantages and disadvantages in working any shift, so not a show-stopper.

  34. laura l Says:

    Those career-gals are doing all sorts of things nowadays. I saw it in the paper.

  35. Those who have a choice generally don’t prefer to work evenings or nights.

  36. Those who do work evenings or nights would think being home by 7:00 to be a breeze. Nonetheless, I’m betting Kelly keeps her current gig and takes over for Greta if/when that opening ever arises.

    … or maybe she’ll accept an offer with MSNBC.

  37. [...] Five, Shine’s concept of a “Fox personalities” panel was panned by media watchers such as Inside Cable News (including, in full disclosure, the author). However, The Five has surprised the critics: in fact, [...]

  38. [...] Shine’s concept of this “Fox personalities” panel was panned by media watchers such as Inside Cable News (including, in full disclosure, the author). However, The Five has surprised the critics: in fact, [...]

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  45. […] on Twitchy complete with said anonymous poster’s schadenfreude, but the gist of it concerns a post I wrote when The Five was first […]

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