Fox News has named Tucker Carlson host of a 9 p.m. weeknight program, replacing Megyn Kelly’s “The Kelly File,” which ends Friday. Daytime anchor Martha MacCallum will anchor a 7 p.m. program — replacing Carlson’s show — that will focus on the first hundred days of the Trump presidency, the network said. Carlson’s program will launch Monday. MacCallum’s starts the week of Jan. 16, while Bret Baier will anchor the 6-8 time period the week of Jan. 9.
Carlson-to-9 is a surprise, but not a shock: His new 7 p.m. program, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” has done well since its post-election launch. Carlson — who joined Fox in 2009 as a contributor — has deep ties at the network, and also at CNN and MSNBC, where he worked in the last decade.
Meanwhile, Greta Van Susteren, who formerly held down Fox’s 7 p.m. slot, has signed with MSNBC, the network announced Thursday.
The former Fox News anchor will take over the 6 p.m slot a little more than three months after she left Fox.
In the wake of Kelly’s NBC announcement Tuesday (she’ll join the network sometime later this year), industry pundits — on their favored venue of punditry, Twitter — instantly assumed that the 9 p.m. choice would be an indicator of how Fox would tilt politically. Kelly was considered a centrist, while Carlson is considered well to the right of that designation.
There was also an assumption Fox would name a female anchor. Fox, however, has rarely if ever fulfilled media expectations about personnel moves.
A quick Carlson primer: San Francisco-born and 47-year-old father of four, he began his career in print, segued to TV, and began his TV career at CNN in 2000, later becoming host of a re-born “Crossfire.” (A run-in with Jon Stewart was the most memorable event in that other otherwise lackluster revival, which Carlson later called “the weirdest, most amusing job I ever had.”)
Next stop was MSNBC, then on to Fox, where he’s been a “Fox and Friends” co-host, and contributor to numerous other shows, including “Hannity.” (Oddly enough, he’s been on “The O’Reilly Factor” just once in the past decade.)
In a statement posted on WSJ.com, Fox News chairman Rupert Murdoch said: “In less than two months, Tucker has taken cable news by storm with his spirited interviews and consistently strong performance. Viewers have overwhelmingly responded to the show and we look forward to him being a part of Fox News’ powerful primetime lineup.”