Roger Ailes’ “Minor Change”? In an exclusive Thursday, the Drudge Report reported that Fox News was “set to make its first primetime schedule change in 10 years” and that “superstar newswoman Megyn Kelly [had] landed the 9 PM slot” according to its top sources. When asked about that “rumor” by Fox News’s Neil Cavuto, FNC chief Roger Ailes responded, “Well, generally, I don’t confirm or deny any rumors….However, Megyn has earned a better time period: She’ll be in our prime-time lineup. But, I must quickly say that all of our stars will be back: We have new deals with (Sean) Hannity and Greta (Van Susteren) and Shep(ard Smith).” Noticing Ailes’ obvious omission, Cavuto quizzically commented, “So, it sounds to me like (Bill) O’Reilly‘s gone: Mischievously, Ailes answered, “Yep, he’s finished, that’s it! No, I’m just kidding.”*
According to New York Times columnist Bill Carter, the prevailing speculation is that Megyn will get her own hour and Sean Hannity will move to the 7:00 p.m. slot (replacing Fox Report with Shepard Smith) and Shep will move to an afternoon hour. However, in his Cavuto interview, Ailes himself cryptically remarked, “We have a great roster of talent: I am making a few minor changes….You have to choose well in the first place and have the guts to stay with people who can do the job. And, that’s what I try to do.”** Furthermore, he reportedly explained, “One of my jobs is to get the best audience flow between shows and that’s one of the reason[s] I’m making a few changes right now.”***
And, that very audience of Ailes in both prime-time and full-day ratings “has had a median age of 65-plus (according to the aforementioned NYT author). If the anecdotal observation that older people tend to be resistant to change is true, Ailes would do well to only “[make] a few minor changes” as he seeks to facilitate the “best audience flow” of his hyper-loyal older viewers (and tries to attract a younger demographic at the same time). Creating three new shows for Megyn, Hannity, and Shep, as the NYT suggested, seems more than a few major changes–especially, when Gretchen Carlson’s new fall show and, an imminent iteration of Fox & Friends (with new co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck) are added into the mix.
*Therightscoop.com (video and text) – 08/08/13.
***Therightscoop.com (video) – 08/08/3 (@ 02:12/04:13).