UPDATE, 12:32 PM: FNC CEO Roger Ailes, being interviewed by Fox Business News anchor Neil Cavuto at a 21st Century Fox investors confab in Los Angeles this afternoon, said Megyn Kelly has earned a primetime slot on the net and Sean Hannity is a brand “viewers love and want to see.” Asked about a report Kelly was getting Hannity’s 9 PM timeslot: “All of our stars will be back,” adding the network has “new deals with Hannity and Greta and Shep.” While giving Hannity a ringing endorsement and reiterating that Kelly had earned a better timeslot and “will be in our primetime line up,” he did not get into specifics on either. He did, however, say that Smith’s newscast will look different in the fall. “Shep and I have been working quietly on something we’ll roll out probably in mid-September, about how news is presented,” Ailes explained. “I think it’s done in an old-fashioned way and I think we have a better way of working on it.” He called Smith “the premiere newsman in the country.”
There’s been much speculation about Kelly’s new timeslot, predicated on the idea that “primetime” means 8-11 PM — meaning one of FNC’s current 8-11 PM hosts would have to get tossed, or share a slot, to make way for Kelly. Broadcast TV networks define “primetime” as 8-11 PM Monday through Saturday and 7-11 PM on Sundays. But cable news networks sometimes tout the weekday 7 PM hour, and even the 6 PM hour, as primetime too – or early primetime. That block of time is important to newscasters, being the traditional berth of broadcast TV’s local and national newscasts. Current speculation has Kelly moving in at 9 PM and Hannity moving to 7.
PREVIOUS:Fox News Channel says “We will neither confirm nor deny any programming schedule changes” in response to a report Megyn Kelly is getting Sean Hannity’s 9 PM timeslot. “As previously stated, the network has signed long-term deals with Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, Shepard Smith, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren,” FNC said in its statement. FNC said last month would move from daytime to primetime after she returned for maternity leave but the network did not get down to nuts and bolts. And it will not do so until later this month, according to Matt Drudge, which first reported the news, citing anonymous sources.
The Hannity news replaces rumors Kelly would bump Van Susteren, who’d responded to that flurry by stating she was under contract with the cable news network to do a daily primetime program.
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