Fox News has named Philadelphia native Jesse Watters the new host of its 7 p.m. hour, rebranding the show Jesse Watters Primetime. The new show will begin Jan. 24.
Watters, who grew up in Germantown and East Falls, has worked for Fox News since 2002, moving up through the ranks from a production assistant to gaining fame for combative man-on-the-street interviews for former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
» READ MORE: Former Fox News host Jillian Mele joins 6ABC
Watters will also continue to co-host The Five for Fox News, which airs at 5 p.m., but he’ll give up hosting his Saturday evening show Watters’ World. The network said a new program will be announced at a later date.
“Jesse’s versatility and hosting acumen has grown exponentially over the last five years, and he has developed a deep connection to the audience through two hit shows,” Suzanne Scott, chief executive of Fox News Media, said in a statement.
The 7 p.m. hour on Fox News had seen a rotating series of guest hosts since January 2021, when a schedule reshuffling moved news anchor Martha McCallum’s The Story to 3 p.m., a less-viewed time slot. The network also pushed back Shannon Bream’s news show to midnight, leaving its most-watched primetime hours occupied by opinion hosts like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.
“Jesse Watters is a logical choice for Fox’s 7 p.m. time slot – the evening schedule is now full of flame throwers – from Watters through to Greg Gutfeld,” CNN Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter wrote on Twitter.
Watters — an outspoken supporter of former President Donald Trump — has promoted false theories about the 2020 election and was forced to walk back his praise of QAnon, a group of conspiracy theorists who believe Democrats and Hollywood celebrities are engaged in human trafficking and child abuse.
“I work at Fox. I wanna see disarray on the left. It’s good for America. It’s good for our ratings,” Watters said last week on The Five.
The move by Fox News comes weeks after Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called on Watters to be fired after he used violent language while telling a crowd of conservatives to ambush President Joe Biden’s top COVID-19 adviser in public and send the footage to his network. Fauci and his family have received death threats over his role as a public health official during the pandemic.
Fox News defended Watters and said his words were taken out of context.
More media moves
MSNBC has hired former Biden strategist Symone Sanders, who will host a weekend show beginning in the spring. Last month, Sanders told the Omaha World-Herald she planned “to continue to be a reliable voice for this White House on the outside, regardless of whatever I do next.” Asked by the New York Times about those comments, Sanders said, “I’m going to tell the truth, and sometimes the truth is critical.”
Former NPR host and reporter Audie Cornish is joining CNN to host a weekly news program on CNN+, the network’s soon-to-launch streaming service. Cornish announced her departure from All Things Considered last week, a move that raised eyebrows as NPR has experienced an exodus of staffers of color. In recent months, Weekend Edition Sunday host Lourdes Garcia-Navarro moved to the New York Times, Morning Edition host Noel King took a job with Vox, and 1A host Joshua Johnson landed at NBC News.
Former Fox News host Jillian Mele has returned to Philadelphia, landing a job as a reporter and anchor for 6ABC’s. It’s unclear when viewers will see the Glenside native on Action News. Mele announced her departure from Fox News back in October, telling viewers it was the most “difficult decision of her life.”