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.