It’s official. Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly (who is currently on maternity leave spending time with her infant son) will replace Sean Hannity at the 9:00 PM EST timeslot when she returns to work later this fall. Hannity, in turn, will continue to host his own eponymous show -- albeit at the 10:00 PM EST hour:
Fox News has announced a revamped primetime lineup that will launch next month, ending months of speculation about new timeslots for Megyn Kelly, Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren. Beginning October 7, Van Susteren’s “On the Record” will move to 7pmET, Kelly’s brand-new “The Kelly File” will take over the 9pmET timeslot and “Hannity” will shift an hour later to 10pmET.
Bill O’Reilly will remain at 8pmET. Shepard Smith, the former host of the 7pmET hour, will take on a new role as the network’s breaking news anchor. He will anchor news updates throughout primetime in addition to his 3pmET hour, “Shepard Smith Reporting.”
“As the network continues to dominate with the top 13 programs in cable news, FOX News already redefined primetime viewing to extend well beyond the antiquated 8-11PM format,” Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes said in a statement. We’ve developed a deep bench of engaging and thought-provoking personalities that have grown with FOX News as it has evolved into the most influential and successful cable network in television.”
Van Susteren said she was “to the moon thrilled” with the earlier timeslot. “Since I heard the great news from Roger my mind has been racing with ideas,” she wrote on Gretawire, noting that she is looking forward to getting home earlier each night.
Hannity also said he was “very happy” with the shift. “The ability to be live or on tape greatly increases the flexibility of the show and offers me, after 17 years, the opportunity to be home at night with my family,” he said in a statement.