Press release from Fox News Channel, Oct. 4, 2017:
FOX News Channel (FNC) is expanding the FOX & Friends franchise by one hour, announced Suzanne Scott, president of programming for FNC. Beginning October 9th, FOX & Friends FIRST will be presented from 4-6AM/ET and FOX & Friends will continue in the 6-9AM/ET timeslot. The 4AM hour of FOX & Friends First will be solo-hosted by Heather Childers, while the 5AM hour will be co-anchored by Jillian Mele and Rob Schmitt.
With the expansion of the franchise, FNC now has more women anchoring and hosting programs than any other cable news network on weekdays from 4AM-12AM/ET. Additionally, upon the debut of Fox News @ Night on October 30th, FNC will have live weekday programming for 20 hours a day.
In making the announcement, Scott said, “As FOX & Friends continues to mark its most-watched year in network history, we are thrilled to give our viewers more of the morning franchise they love.”
FOX & Friends FIRST is presented prior to the network’s signature morning show, previewing the day ahead by covering the latest news headlines in politics, business, entertainment and health. The early morning program is the number one cable news program in its timeslot, dominating CNN and MSNBC in both total viewers and the 25-54 demographic.
On pace to have its highest-rated year in network history, FOX & Friends has been FNC’s signature morning program for more than 19 years. Co-hosted by Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade, the show has eclipsed the competition for 190 consecutive months. Featuring interviews with numerous celebrities, authors, athletes and political heavyweights, the program also includes regular stunts and musical performances both on set and outside before gathering crowds. Additionally, each hour of the show offers reports on general news, sports, weather, politics, business and entertainment provided by FOX & Friends FIRST co-host Jillian Mele.
Heather Childers joined FNC in 2010 as a general assignment reporter based in New York. During her tenure, she served as an anchor of America’s News HQ from 2011 to 2013, as well as helped launch FOX & Friends FIRST, where she has been a co-host for nearly five years. Prior to joining FNC, Childers served as a weekday evening anchor for News 14 Carolina (YNN 14) in Charlotte, NC. She was also a weekend evening anchor and weekday reporter for WLOS-TV (ABC 13) in Asheville, NC and a weekday anchor for WFLX-TV (FOX 29) in Albany, GA. Childers began her career as a producer at WCNC-TV (NBC 22) in Charlotte, NC. She graduated from the University of North Carolina with a B.A. in English.
Jillian Mele joined FNC from Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia (CSN Philly) in March 2017. While with CSN Philly, she earned an Emmy Award for her co-host role on the local morning news program, Breakfast on Broad. Earlier in her career, Mele spent seven years with WCAU-TV (NBC 10) in Philadelphia, PA and reported in various capacities, including as a news, sports and traffic reporter. She got her on-air start as a local news anchor for stations in Presque Isle, Maine, and Binghamton, NY. Mele received a B.A. in arts and communication from La Salle University.
Rob Schmitt was named a weekend news anchor and general assignment reporter at FNC in June 2016 and has served as a substitute anchor for various programs including FOX & Friends First, and FOX Report. Prior to joining FNC, he was an anchor for WNBC-TV (NBC 4) in New York, helming the 12 Noon News while also contributing reports to the 5PM/ET and 6PM/ET news programs. Before joining WNBC-TV, Schmitt worked as an anchor and reporter for CBS2/KCAL9 (CBS) in Los Angeles, CA, and began his career at WPLG-TV (ABC) in Miami, FL. A native of Indiana, Schmitt received a B.A. from the Ernie Pyle School of Journalism at Indiana University.
FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service dedicated to delivering breaking news as well as political and business news. The number one network in cable, FNC has been the most-watched television news channel for more than 15 years and according to a Suffolk University/USA Today poll, is the most-trusted television news source in the country. Owned by 21st Century Fox, FNC is available in 90 million homes and dominates the cable news landscape, routinely notching the top ten programs in the genre.