Jesse Watters To Fill Tucker Carlson’s Old Slot at Fox News

Fox News shook up its prime-time lineup on Monday in the first major reorganization to its most popular programming since the beginning of the Trump administration. The moves include permanently filling the 8 p.m. slot, which has been vacant since the network canceled Tucker Carlson’s show in April.

The changes will result in the promotion of two rising stars at the network — Jesse Watters, whose show will move to 8 p.m. from 7 p.m., and Greg Gutfeld, who has been hosting an 11 p.m. comedy and current events program that regularly draws higher ratings than late-night rivals like Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel. Mr. Gutfeld’s show will now start at 10 p.m.

Laura Ingraham, who has hosted a 10 p.m. program since 2017, will move to 7 p.m., occupying the hour that Mr. Watters has been hosting. Sean Hannity, a mainstay at Fox News since its early days, will remain in his 9 p.m. slot.

Though some of the names and times of Fox’s most important shows are changing, the overall tone of the coverage is not likely to sound much different to the audience.

Mr. Watters is a reliably pro-Trump conservative voice who first became widely known to Fox’s audience for his cameos on Bill O’Reilly’s program before the network canceled that show in 2017. His commentary has come under criticism at times, including when he did a segment from Manhattan’s Chinatown in 2016 in which he asked Asian people offensive questions, including whether they knew Karate or bowed when saying hello.

Fox’s prime-time ratings have consistently been the highest in cable news but have fallen off by roughly one-third since the network took Mr. Carlson off the air. His departure followed a string of public relations headaches and legal problems stemming from both his offensive commentary, on and off the air, and a lawsuit from a former producer claiming that he had enabled a toxic workplace.

In April, shortly before canceling Mr. Carlson’s show, Fox News and its parent company settled a defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million. Some of Mr. Carlson’s private text messages became public during the case, including some in which he attacked network colleagues, denigrated former President Donald J. Trump and said he did not believe that the results of the 2020 election were materially affected by voter fraud.

One especially damaging text, which set off a crisis at the top of the Fox Corporation, expressed inflammatory views about violence and race.


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