Fox News Channel may be on the verge of making the first significant tweaks to its prime-time schedule in more than 10 years, reports Brian Stelter in The New York Times.
The report comes after anchor Megyn Kelly, who has been working afternoons, renewed her contract with the cable channel. Kelly may be positioning for a move to prime time, Stelter reports.
The potential change comes after another of Fox News’ best-known anchors, Greta Van Susteren, also renewed her contract this week, the story says. Van Susteren, who has held the 10 p.m. time slot since 2002, might find another spot on the channel, opening up that time slot for Kelly.
John Coale, Van Susteren’s husband and a lawyer who represents her, told The Times that he wasn’t aware of scheduling changes, but added that his wife would be happy to move to an earlier hour. Coale was diagnosed with cancer in December, and said that he would "like to spend some quality time with my wife, at least before 11 p.m." Coale is recovering after surgery, the piece adds.
"A prime-time change would be, by Fox News scheduling standards, seismic; the channel has had a remarkably consistent lineup of hosts and shows, much to the chagrin of competitors like MSNBC and CNN, which have not," Stelter writes.
Kelly reupped with Fox News after meeting with the heads of at least two other TV networks, including CNN, the piece notes. She gained attention during last fall’s presidential election, when she walked through Fox News’ offices to interview its voting analysts about Karl Rove’s belief that the network had called Ohio for President Obama too early.
"They, not surprisingly, defended their decision. The moment became a viral hit and bolstered Ms. Kelly’s personal brand as a part of Fox’s news side, not its opinion side," Stelter notes.
Meanwhile, “Ms. Van Susteren’s 10 p.m. program, ‘On the Record,’ has been a sore spot on the channel’s schedule,” Stelter writes. “The program had an average of 1.43 million viewers in the first quarter. In the demographic that matters most to advertisers, viewers ages 25 to 54, Ms. Van Susteren attracted 250,000 a night, only 35,000 more than her competitor on MSNBC, Lawrence O’Donnell. At the end of the quarter, MSNBC said in a news release that Fox’s ‘On the Record’ had recorded its ‘worst quarterly performance ever.’”
On the other hand, Van Susteren’s show has consistently been No. 1 in total viewers, the piece notes.