More than a year and a half after he was abruptly dumped by Fox News Channel, the prodigal political consultant has returned, with the cable newser saying today that Bob Beckel will return to The Five tonight.
“Bob was missed by many fans of The Five, and we’re happy to welcome him back to the show,” 21st Century Fox and Fox News executive chairman Rupert Murdoch in a low-key statement Monday.
Added Beckel, the former Walter Mondale campaign manager: “I’m thrilled for the opportunity to go home again and join my television family around the table of The Five. I have no doubt it will be a vigorous yet entertaining debate.”
After several years as the lefty of sorts on the ratings-successful show co-hosted by Eric Bolling, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Greg Gutfeld and Dana Perino, Beckel was canned in June 2015. “We tried to work with Bob for months, but we couldn’t hold The Five hostage to one man’s personal issues,” said Fox News’ then-EVP Programming Bill Shine at the time, after Beckel hadn’t been on the air for four months.
Beckel had been with FNC since 2000, when he signed on as a contributor. He was one of the original co-hosts of The Five when it debuted in summer 2011.
Not long after exiting FNC, Beckel played pundit musical chairs and ended up on CNN in October 2015 talking presidential politics. He also contributed to USA Today as a columnist from 2005-15.
Now, as of 5 PM ET today, he is back at Fox News. The network also announced, in their own game of pundit musical chairs, the fate of Juan Williams: The ex-NPRer will remain a Fox News contributor across the news net and also will pop up on The Five, where he had essentially taken on Beckel’s spot.