Archive for September 12, 2017

FNC’s Unfamiliar Territory…

Posted in FNC on September 12, 2017 by icn2

I’d held off writing about Bolling’s departure from FNC, mostly because of what happened with his son. It’s bad enough to lose your job over something that will follow you around for the rest of your life and ruin your career in broadcasting anywhere close to the mainstream. But to lose your son the same day (which may or may not be related depending on who you read for information)…at that point I don’t feel like writing anymore about it.

I was surprised to see The Specialists get cancelled though. Yes, it all but confirmed that The Specialists was never an ensemble show and was always intended to be an Eric Bolling vehicle. But it also made for a big no confidence vote for both Kat Timpf and Eboni K Williams, whether that was FNC’s intention or not, because it basically said, “We don’t think you’re good enough to be able to maintain a show without an established talent like Eric Bolling to be the center of the universe”.

I’m not saying I agree with that. I am saying that’s how the optics of this move read. Or at least appeared to be read. It turns out there was an even bigger shoe to drop…

Last night CNN’s Brian Stelter and Hadas Gold broke news of a bigger shakeup in FNC primetime…

Laura Ingraham, the radio host and Fox News commentator, is about to become a prime time host on the conservative cable network.

Ingraham is expected to take over the 10 p.m. hour on Fox News, according to people who spoke on condition of anonymity.

While there may be one or two final details to negotiate, Ingraham has been telling friends that the deal is essentially done, the sources said.

Her new show will be part of a broader change to the network’s top-rated prime time lineup. Sean Hannity’s show, currently at 10 p.m., will move one hour earlier to 9 p.m., multiple sources confirmed.

Now, cancelling of an Eric Bolling-less The Specialists made more sense. Put the show that previously occupied that timeslot (The Five) back and slot Hannity in at 9 and Ingraham in at 10pm.

But this is really all about MSNBC and what Maddow is doing at 9pm. For the first time, going back to at least 2000, FNC finds itself in the unfamiliar position of having to react and adjust its programming based on damage being inflicted by another network.

The Five just wasn’t doing well enough against Maddow. FNC could ill afford to let things fester like this for much longer. Moving Hannity won’t rob viewers from Maddow but should bring in bigger viewers at 9pm than The Five could.

However it’s not clear to me at the moment that this will be enough. Sure it makes FNC more competitive with MSNBC at 9 but it may not be enough to permanently put MSNBC back to 2nd going forward because Maddow’s momentum in a Trump world is hard to top.

Moreover, this yet to be announced move will give FNC the most single minded partisan line up in cable news for as long as MSNBC keeps Brian Williams on at 11. FNC’s lineup will never have been as monotone or more ideological than it will be with Carlson/Hannity/Ingraham. There was alsways one hour that wasn’t as ideological or as uniform as the others. Not anymore.

This is also unfamiliar territory for FNC. For over a decade FNC’s programming rarely changed. There was tinkering on the periphery but not wholesale changes. Give credit to Roger Ailes maintaining his vision or credit to a lineup that didn’t need to be adjusted because it was that powerful…but the bottom line is that it wasn’t broke so nobody fixed it.

Those days are over. In a post Ailes, post O’Reily world, FNC has now shaken up its prime time twice this year. It may not be the last.

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