Turmoil and change in the air at FOX News

In a “blockbuster” exclusive on Wednesday, Matt Drudge blasted his latest scoop, citing a single anonymous source, that FOX News was about to upend its primetime schedule that has been, to some extent, limping since the forced departure of its #1 host Tucker Carlson over three weeks ago.

Drudge’s prediction was that the channel’s new schedule would soon see the venerable host Sean Hannity moving from 9 PM to 8 PM (Tucker’s old slot), Jesse Watters moving from 7 to 9, and Greg Gutfeld’s late-night comedy show Gutfeld! moving back an hour to 10 PM. (All times ET.) Drudge grabbed major media attention with his three-sentence-long report, but his prediction was not confirmed by FOX News’s PR department.

There were no updates to Drudge’s scoop yesterday – either from Matt Drudge himself or the MSM outlets, mostly on the left, that jumped to run with the story on Wednesday.

One wonders if Drudge, who is usually correct in his scoops, may have gotten this one wrong. But now, according to an exclusive published here today, there is the first evidence that he may have been onto something.

Yesterday, this writer was told by a trusted industry insider with knowledge of Sean Hannity's thinking that “believe it or not we have not had official notice yet.” Yet? This telling comment suggests that official notice of the schedule change is or at least may be expected by Hannity and his crew.

Meanwhile, it stands to reason that Hannity and his team would welcome a switch from their 9-10 PM ET slot – which they have held since the fall of 2017 – to an hour earlier. Hannity hosts his daily national radio show from 3-6 PM ET and then prepares for his FOX News primetime show. In recent weeks, he has moved the production of the FOX program several nights a week from his home studio in the NYC suburbs to FOX News headquarters in midtown Manhattan – which entails an extra hour after the show ends to commute back to his home.

Fair and objective reporting about the potential schedule changes to the nation’s #1 cable news channel (yes, it has held onto that title in the ratings even since the departure of Carlson) is not “inside baseball.” (Link to latest Nielsen Research cable TV news ratings at TVNewser – free registration required.) Millions of Americans rely on the programming of FOX News, imperfect as it may occasionally be, as the only easily accessible mainstream alternative to the tsunami of woke media that comprises the rest of the MSM.

Since April 24, the day Carlson’s program was canceled, the programming of the rest of FOX News has remained largely unchanged. Hosts like Mark Levin, Steve Hilton, Laura Ingraham, and Jesse Watters, and shows like Fox & Friends and Fox & Friends First continue to be reliably center-right and covering news (like the Durham Report and the Congressional hearing with the FBI whistleblowers yesterday) that are almost completely unreported and blacked out by the rest of the MSM. FOX News’s Web site is a consistently reliable source of conservative reporting, analysis, and opinion and was recently reported to “dominate news brands including CNN, NY Times in key categories in April.”

And yes, it should be remembered that FOX News is an integral and prominent part of the MSM. While Newsmax, OANN, and NewsNation on cable ply their trade, they do not have the reach of FOX News and are not considered part of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, FOX News is carried on every cable and satellite television system in the United States and even in some foreign countries.

So, FOX News naysayers, be careful what you wish for. As media industry veteran Bob Just told me when I interviewed him on a national radio show that I was guest hosting in 2021, to paraphrase, if FOX News had not existed since its launch in 1996, it would be a very different world now – and one much for the worse.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who has covered national politics and the politics and economics of health care, popular culture, and media for over five decades.  His web page with links to his work is http://peter.media.  Peter's extensive American Thinker archive: http://tinyurl.com/pcathinker.  Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.

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