Laura Ingraham may be headed to Fox News on a full-time basis as the host of her own Monday-through-Friday prime-time show.
A longtime Fox News contributor and substitute host on the network, Ingraham also anchored her own program on MSNBC in the 1990s. Along with her syndicated radio show, she is also the editor in chief of the LifeZette website and a commentator on ABC’s This Week.
Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report got the ball rolling earlier this week with a tweet suggesting that Ingraham was in negotiations with FNC.
“A source familiar with the network’s plans confirmed Ingraham is in talks with the network for a possible program,” the Hill claimed.
If this plan comes to fruition, media industry observers presume that Ingraham would take over the 9 p.m. slot. If so, that likely means that the ensemble show The Five would go back to its original 5 p.m. platform where it thrived as a surprise hit. The Five was originally conceived as a temporary placeholder when Glenn Beck left to form his own network.
In that scenario, Sean Hannity would stay at 10 p.m. There is some alternative speculation that Hannity could move back to 9 p.m. instead.
Fox News has engaged in a lot of musical chairs with its prime-time lineup following the abrupt departure of Bill O’Reilly and the end of The O’Reilly Factor in April. Tucker Carlson Tonight took over the prestigious O’Reilly 8 p.m. position and has achieved strong ratings, but Rachel Maddow on MSNBC has scored at 9 p.m.
Should The Five resume airing at 5 p.m., that could signal the end of the Fox News Specialists, which has turned out not to be particularly special, especially given that stabilizing force Eric Bolling is on suspension pending an internal investigation over alleged lewd text messages.
“The possible programming shake-up would be the third this year on the top-rated cable news network, which has long been known for its stability…The possible loss of Bolling is forcing the network to consider alternatives,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
Bolling joined the Specialists as co-host when it launched on May 1, 2017, rather than continue to occupy the center chair on The Five, which may not have been the best career move, given the mixed — at best — reviews that the new program has received, with critics citing a lack of chemistry among the principals and too much crosstalk, among other things.
A staunch Trump supporter and vocal foe of the Never Trump Republicans, Laura Ingraham is a graduate of the University of Virginia law school and worked in the Reagan administration and for Justice Clarence Thomas at the U.S. Supreme Court.
A single mother of three who lives in the D.C. area, Ingraham was reportedly considered for a position in the Trump administration as press secretary or communicators director (although the pay cut would have been considerable) and was also rumored to be considering running for U.S. Senate from Virginia.
With Ingraham theoretically heading to 9 p.m. on Fox News, “[s]he would inherit a time slot that has averaged 2.8 million nightly viewers over the past six quarters and instantly become one of the most important on-air figures in cable news,” the Washington Post asserted.
According to TV Newser, Fox News is still a ratings powerhouse despite all the turmoil connected to staff departures and programming changes.
“Fox News finished the week of August 7th as the No. 1 basic cable network, both in total day viewers and in prime time viewers. Fox News has now achieved the distinction of No. 1 in total day for 32 consecutive weeks, and No. 1 in prime time for 12 consecutive weeks, per Nielsen data. The network posted +20 percent growth in prime time viewers and +6 percent growth in total day viewers versus the comparable week in 2016.”
Watch this space for updates as to the possibility of Laura Ingraham signing on to the Fox News prime-time lineup.
[Featured Image by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images]