UPDATED: Fox News announced Thursday that Tucker Carlson’s star is continuing to rise, and fast, as he will be moving into the 9 p.m. time slot being vacated by departing Megyn Kelly just two months after he stepped into 7 o’clock hour in November after Greta Van Susteren left the Fox airwaves.
Moving into Carlson’s slot will be another Fox News stalwart, Martha MacCallum, the cable network reported.
Thursday also brought an announcement from MSNBC that Van Susteren will start a new evening program at 6 p.m. Eastern on Jan. 9. She had been at Fox for the previous 14 years when she suddenly quit last November. Her new program is called “For the Record,” and will be opinion and analysis, apparently in the same vein as her “On the Record” program at Fox.
Carlson has come to be known as a no-holds-barred interviewer, as exemplified by his challenging discussion earlier in the week with Joshua Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. The Fox host shredded Horwitz’ arguments supporting more gun control, and at the same time revealed his personal firearms ownership that includes an AR15 modern sporting rifle.
Kelly is moving to NBC where her job will be multi-faceted, including hosting a daytime show and doing other news jobs.
MacCallum will lead the Fox evening lineup, starting with a program headlined “The First 100 Days,” Fox is reporting. She will also co-anchor network coverage of the Inauguration Day festivities on Jan. 20.
“In less than two months, Tucker has taken cable news by storm with his spirited interviews and consistently strong performance,” Fox Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch said in a statement.
Carlson has served as a weekend host at Fox, and last month his show was second only to The O’Reilly Factor in the 25-54 demographic, the network noted in its announcement.
Fox has risen to the top of the heap among cable networks, a fact not lost on outgoing President Barack Obama. He has frequently criticized Fox News for criticizing his administration while other cable networks and the “Big Three” broadcast networks have been far more cordial to Obama, to the point that critics considered them administration lapdogs.
The network’s popularity among “middle Americans” may be at least partly due to the willingness of its evening lineup to challenge the status quo on such things as the economy, foreign affairs, terrorism, guns and crime.
Carlson will now have the benefit of coming in right behind Bill O’Reilly’s top-rated evening program rather than where is now, as something of the evening’s opening act.
That said, MacCallum is no rookie, either. As noted by Heavy.com, she has a solid background in television news, and has been at Fox for more than a decade, covering all kinds of news and events. She has moderated two presidential debates, anchored Fox’s “America’s Newsroom” and prior to joining Fox, she worked at NBC for six years.