Heather Childers

Fox News Channel is expanding its Fox & Friends franchise by an hour, with Fox & Friends First moving to two hours starting Monday. It will now air from 4-6 AM ET.

Heather Childers will get up even earlier to anchor the 4 AM hour;  Jillian Mele and Rob Schmitt will co-anchor the 5 AM hour.

FNC boasted that, with the expansion of  the franchise, it now has more women anchoring and hosting programs than any other cable news network on weekdays between the hours of 4 AM-midnight ET.

This bragging point is made less than two weeks after FNC got dinged for letting Bill O’Reilly back on its air to plug his new book, after he’d been shown the door in April in the wake of a New York Times report he and the network paid millions to settle harassment allegations, some sexual harassment.

FNC, in its announcement, also noted that, on October 30, it will debut Fox News @ Night, at which point it will have live weekday programming for 20 hours a day.

“As Fox & Friends continues to mark its most-watched year in network history, we are thrilled to give our viewers more of the morning franchise they love,” Suzanne Scott, president of programming for FNC, said in today’s news.

Childers joined FNC in 2010 as a general assignment reporter based in New York, serving as an anchor of America’s News HQ from 2011-2013, as well as helping launch Fox & Friends First, where she has been a co-host for nearly five years.

Mele joined FNC from Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia in March 2017. Schmitt was named a weekend news anchor and general assignment reporter at FNC in June 2016 and has served as a substitute anchor for various programs including Fox & Friends First, and Fox Report.