Fox News is shaking up its prime–time programming lineup with Jesse Watters taking over the 8 p.m. spot formerly held by Tucker Carlson, the company announced Monday.
The move follows Carlson‘s departure from the cable network in late April, and Watters‘ promotion from the position of host of the opinion show “Jesse Watters Primetime.” Watters is a regular panelist on “The Five,” one of Fox’s most popular programs, and has consistently garnered ample viewership since the start of this year with an average of 2.6 million viewers.
The changes also include Laura Ingraham’s show kicking off evenings at 7 p.m. ET, and Sean Hannity staying put in the 9 p.m. ET slot and Greg Gutfeld‘s late–night broadcast moving to 10 p.m. ET.
“Fox News Channel has been America’s destination for news and analysis for more than 21 years and we are thrilled to debut a new lineup,” announced Suzanne Scott, the network‘s CEO in a statement.
Though the move comes as a surprise, Watters is no stranger to Fox News’ culture as a strident conservative culture warrior and a loyal defender of former President Donald Trump. But he has also drawn sharp criticism for his on–air behavior and incendiary comments.
Most recently in late 2021, Watters was called out by Dr. Anthony Fauci, who said he should be fired for using “kill shot” in a speech calling on conservative activists to confront the public health leader with tough questions. Fox INSISTED Watters’ words had been taken out of context. Earlier in 2016, Watters faced widespread condemnation for an interview in New York City’s Chinatown that many called racist, resulting in elected officials and activists protesting outside the network’s headquarters.
Watters first joined Fox News as a production assistant in 2002 right out of college and has since built a sizable following with his ambush–style man–on–the–street interviews.
It remains to be seen if Watters will be able to replace Carlson’s sizable viewership and fill the prime–time slot with as much enthusiasm and success. Watters’ success in the 8 p.m. time slot will likely put pressure on Fox News executives to deliver on its promise to provide viewers with the news and analysis they’ve grown to expect from the network.