It took some time for Fox News' co-founder and acting CEO, Rupert Murdoch, to come around to President-elect Donald Trump. But come around he sure has, Gabriel Sherman writes for New York magazine. Fox insiders were reportedly shocked when the network announced Thursday that Megyn Kelly's primetime slot would be filled by Tucker Carlson, with one particular person in the know saying there was originally to be "a lot of experimenting" around who would fill the position, and that the leading candidates were all women.
A female anchor has held a primetime spot — between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. — at Fox News since 1996. But with Kelly's departure and Carlson's addition, the lineup is now entirely men, although Martha MacCallum will take over Carlson's old slot leading into the peak viewership hours at 7 p.m.
Some insiders say there could be more afoot than Carlson just being a ratings success, too. Carlson has long been friendly toward Trump:
Carlson's promotion is one sign of just how much Murdoch wants to appease Trump, Fox insiders say. Murdoch has been intent on forging a tight relationship with Trump since his victory, sources close to both men tell me. One longtime Murdoch confidante told me the two speak by phone at least three times per week. As I reported Tuesday, at Mar-a-Lago over the holidays Trump criticized Roger Ailes and lavished praise on Murdoch. And Murdoch has told Fox executives that Trump asked him to submit names for FCC commissioner. (A Trump spokesperson denied that.) Murdoch has allowed Sean Hannity to turn his 10 p.m. show into de facto infomercials for Trump. [New York]
Some onlookers are already bothered by the turn Fox News has taken. "I'm old enough to remember when Fox News was pro-American soldier not pro-anti-American leaker," former Fox News panelist Bill Kristol tweeted Thursday. Read Sherman's entire scoop at New York.