2nd UPDATE, 6:20 PM: “Good Evening everyone, I’m Megyn Kelly, and I’m BACK!” FNC‘s newest primetime host said/shouted at 9 PM ET today as she dove into the launch of The Kelly File while the camera panned lovingly over her fabulous little black dress and her gorgeous gams, that could be seen through her plexiglass desk. “What does it feel like to be The Most Hated Man in America?” she asked her first guest — Sen. Ted Cruz — her first question. Cruz instead said how honored he was to be her first guest on her first broadcast of her primetime show, as she returned from maternity leave to take over the plum post-Bill O’Reilly timeslot. “Thank you very much, sir. Now ANSWER the question!” Kelly barked, smiling.
Later in her maiden voyage as primetime host, Kelly welcomed the co-hosts of FNC’s The Five to discuss, among other topics, Miley Cyrus’s appearance earlier today on NBC’s Today show in which Miley told Matt Lauer he, like everyone over 40, is too old for sex. A theory that Miley may have a “mental health issue” seemed to be gaining favor, until Kelly shot it down by mentioning “some study recently” that found women over 40 have the most satisfying sex lives — because they don’t want it, and aren’t having it.
UPDATE, 5:10 PM: Donald Trump solved the government standoff, a mystery caller phoned Greta Van Susteren, and Shep Smith debuted the Fox News Deck, with its 38-foot wall of video and 55-inch touchscreen computer monitors –or BATS (Big Area Touchscreens) — manned by “Information Specialists” (formerly “producers”) as Fox News Channel unveiled its shiny new self on the 17th anniversary of its launch date.
“This is the new home of our new program, called Shepard Smith Reporting, which will air every weekday at this time, but more important really, this is the new hub for breaking news coverage for all of Fox News Channel – we call it the Fox News Deck,” Shep said as he kicked off the day of change, making his return to his 3 PM ET slot. We’ve been busy while I’ve been away from your TV box and I’ll show you all we’ve done for you.”
Back in September, FNC announced Shep had signed a multi-year deal and would become the network’s main breaking news anchor across primetime, while losing his primetime Fox Report; he would hang on to his 3 PM timeslot, which would now be called Shepard Smith Reporting. While FNC continues to leave its cable news competitors in its ratings dust, and just celebrated its 47th consecutive quarter in first place, the third quarter of this year saw some FNC programs experience lowest quarterly ratings since ’01: Fox & Friends, Hannity, Fox Report. Not coincidentally, Fox & Friends has a new co-host, Hannity’s moved to a new timeslot, and Fox Report’s been replaced by Greta Van Susteren. And Megyn Kelly follows Bill O’Reilly at 9.
Shep handled all his set’s new bells and whistles with his usual good-natured on-air style. During a report about New York City getting pounded by severe weather, he said he’d show us the weather pattern on his BAT — “Or, I’ll try to.” Then he began to mumble: “Shift, Shift F2.” “It’s new equipment – we’ll learn this,” he grinned. Later, facing a video wall filled with Elizabeth Smart kidnap-related photos for a report on her book tour Shep marveled, “When we crank it up for breaking news it’s going to work beautifully.”
Wrapping up his largely snafu-free debut, Shep boasted, “The future of news has arrived at the Fox News Deck…This is the place where we’ll be back…whenever breaking news happens. There’s no more Fox Report at night. We kinda felt, for years, it was a fish out of water – you usually knew the news before I said, ‘And now you know the news’.”
Man, oh man, Shep – wow! Just incredible!” his lead-out star Neil Cavuto, began. “How do we keep up with this? We’ve got state-of-the-art graphics,” Cavuto said, holding up a Manila folder on which had been hand-written the word “LIVE’.”
Greta kicked off FNC’s new primetime at 7:
“It’s 7 PM Eastern and this is On the Record, in a brand new time, coming to you live from our brand new studio in Washington, D.C. And first, tonight” When you think you’ve heard it all, this is unbelievable!” she emoted, as she launched into the umpteenth report of the day across the cable news landscape about the government shutdown. Among her first-night guests, she asked Donald Trump what he would do about the government shutdown were he POTUS.
“Very simply, you have to get everybody in a room. You have to be a leader, the president has to lead. He’s got to get Mr. Boehner and everybody else in a room and they have to make a deal. And you have to be nice and be angry and be wild and cajole and do all sorts of things, but you have to get a deal. Unforunately he’s never been a deal maker. That wasn’t his expertise before he went into politics – it’s obviously not his expertise now.” After that, she got the first of her nightly mystery phone calls celebrating her first week in the new slot: Mike Tyson — who just happens to be the subject of the six-part series, Being: Mike Tyson, now running on Fox Sports.
Watch Shep’s pre-debut tour of the new studio here: