Fox News is poised to shift its primetime lineup again following the suspension of a top personality who allegedly sexually harassed colleagues.
Earlier this month, “Fox News Specialists” host Eric Bolling was suspended following allegations that he sent unsolicited photos of male genitalia to colleagues at Fox Business Network and Fox News.
The suspension sparked questions about the future of “Specialists” and whether Fox would take steps to bolster the 5 p.m. time slot, and late on Monday, CNN’s Brian Stelter reported that conservative pundit Laura Ingraham is set t0 join Fox News’ primetime lineup.
Earlier on Monday, Drudge Report founder Matt Drudge, who has repeatedly broken major news about the Fox News lineup over the past year, alluded to Ingraham’s potential spot in primetime.
It remains unclear what time Ingraham’s show will air, though rumours have swirled within the network about several potential scenarios.
Two sources familiar with the situation told Business Insider that although the lineup remains up in the air, many suspect “The Five” will move back to its old 5 p.m. slot, bumping “Fox News Specialists,” and making way for Ingraham to occupy the 9 p.m. slot where “The Five” moved earlier this year. Ingraham’s show could also air at 10 p.m., moving host Sean Hannity into the 9 p.m. slot.
The lineup changes remain in flux in part due to Bolling’s uncertain future at the company.
Though co-hosts Eboni Williams and Kat Timpf were both regulars on “Fox News Specialists,” Bolling was the most familiar face on the show to many viewers, having served as a host on “The Five,” as well hosting his own weekend show and filling in for other primetime Fox shows.
The outside law firm Paul, Rifkind, and Weiss, retained by 21st Century Fox Last year to look into harassment at Fox, is investigating the claims against Bolling.
A shakeup would be the third major shift in Fox News’ primetime lineup in a year.
In January, Tucker Carlson replaced the 9 p.m. show hosted by Megyn Kelly, who left for NBC. And in April, the lineup shifted again following Bill O’Reilly’s departure amid sexual harassment allegations, bumping Carlson into O’Reilly’s 8 p.m. slot, and moving “The Five” from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
In a testament to the strength of the allegiance to Fox News’ among much of its audience, for much of the year, the network’s ratings largely haven’t reflected any significant turbulence, though they have dipped across the board compared to last summer.
Carlson still hasn’t managed to match O’Reilly’s numbers — Carlson garnered 2.2 million viewers in July compared to O’Reilly’s 3.1 million viewers in July 2016 during the highly-watched Democratic National Convention and Republican National Conventions. But Carlson’s numbers barely dipped in the second quarter of 2017 compared to 2016, and Hannity’s ratings were far higher in the second quarter of 2017 compared to 2016.
Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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