Fox News host Tucker Carlson is moving into Bill O’Reilly’s coveted 8 p.m. time slot in the wake of O’Reilly’s departure from the network.
Fox unveiled its new weeknight schedule moments after announcing O’Reilly was leaving the network in the wake of sexual harassment allegations.
“Tucker Carlson Tonight” will move from its 9 p.m. spot into O’Reilly’s longtime 8 p.m. slot.
“The O’Reilly Factor” has been the top-rated cable news show for the past 15 years, and the combative commentator host leaves big shoes to fill.
But Carlson has shown a knack for drawing ratings at Fox. Originally airing at 7 p.m. when it debuted in September, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” was moved to the 9 p.m. spot after Megyn Kelly left Fox News in November. Kelly had been the second-most-watched host on cable, but Carlson bested her ratings in the time slot.
Taking over at 9 p.m. will be “The Five,” a panel show with six co-hosts: Kimberly Guilfoyle, Dana Perino, Bob Beckel, Greg Gutfeld, Jesse Watters and Juan Williams.
The move to prime time is a promotion for “The Five,” which previously aired at 5 p.m.
Fox will be filling the 5 p.m. slot with a new show hosted by Eric Bolling, a longtime O’Reilly fill-in. Bolling’s show will debut May 1, with “Special Report with Bret Baier” stretching to two hours to fill the time until then.
Fox’s announcement also noted that “The Story with Martha MacCallum” will debut on May 1 at 7 p.m. MacCallum had been in that time slot hosting “The First 100 Days,” a show centered on the beginning of President Trump’s administration. The network appears to be giving her a vote of confidence with a permanent show.
Bill O’Reilly mentioned a couple months ago during an interview that he didn’t see himself doing the show for that much longer. He said he has loved every minute of the show, but wanted to slow things down and enjoy life while he still could. The decision made by Fox News to remove O’Reilly may not be as much a blow to the veteran commentator after all.