NEW YORK – Fox News Channel is shuffling its daytime lineup and adding a new hourlong opinion show at 7 p.m. Eastern to replace that hour's current anchor, Martha MacCallum.
Both Fox and CNN announced lineup changes Monday, as is often the case for news organizations with a new president about to take power. CNN's Jake Tapper and Fox's John Roberts are among those taking on new roles.
Starting next Monday, Fox's 7 p.m. hour will be led by a rotating group of opinion hosts, with a permanent host to be named later. For years, first with Shepard Smith and then with MacCallum, Fox has stressed news instead of opinion in that hour.
Yet MacCallum, who had been comfortably ahead in the ratings, has slipped behind both MSNBC and CNN at 7 p.m. since the election, the Nielsen company said. That's also when Newsmax has seen its greatest success with a strongly pro-Trump show hosted by Greg Kelly.
In fact, Newsmax issued a statement that its improved daytime and 7 p.m. ratings since the election has triggered changes at Fox.
“The Fox is on the run,” Newsmax said.
Fox denied that Newsmax had anything to do with its moves, and pointed to a quote from an October article that said schedule changes were being considered. While Newsmax has sharply increased its audience since the election, with viewers spurred on by President Donald Trump, Fox routinely has more than triple Newsmax's viewers.
“Chris Ruddy is irrelevant,” Fox said in a statement, referencing Newsmax's CEO.
Still, there's been a dramatic change in Fox's daytime position.
During the first three months of 2020, Fox's average of 2.1 million viewers during the 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekday hours was essentially equal to CNN and MSNBC combined, Nielsen said. Since the election, CNN has averaged 1.92 million viewers in those daytime hours, with Fox and MSNBC both at 1.53 million.
Roberts, Fox's White House correspondent during the Trump administration, will co-anchor a daily news show from 1 to 3 p.m. Eastern, with Sandra Smith starting Monday, Fox said. Bill Hemmer is moving back to mornings, co-hosting a two-hour “America's Newsroom” with Dana Perino at 9 a.m.
MacCallum is taking over the 3 p.m. Eastern hour from Hemmer, while Harris Faulkner's daily hour shifts from 1 p.m. to 11 a.m. and changes its name to “The Faulkner Focus.”
At CNN, Tapper's daily news show will increase an hour, running from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern, taking an hour from Wolf Blitzer's “Situation Room.” Tapper will also be CNN's lead anchor for all Washington-based events, the network said.
Tapper will keep his Sunday “State of the Union” show but time-share with new co-anchor Dana Bash. Both will anchor two Sundays a month.
Abby Phillip, a rising star at CNN, will host the Sunday morning show “Inside Politics” and has been named senior political correspondent. John King will continue to host “Inside Politics” on weekdays.
Jim Acosta, who became well known for his run-ins with Trump at the White House, is moving off that beat with the incoming Biden administration. He'll become a weekend anchor and chief domestic correspondent. Kaitlan Collins is replacing him as head of the White House team.
CNN says Pamela Brown will anchor a three-hour news program each Saturday and Sunday evening.