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Now Hosting All But Two Shows from 6PM to Midnight, Fox News’ DC Bureau Takes Center Stage

The attendance on the Amtrak Acela may be in decline over the next several weeks. The famous train route that services the New York to DC power corridor won’t need to cart quite as many Washington political pundits up to Manhattan for prime time Fox News hits starting tonight.

With the debut of two new prime time programs, The Ingraham Angle with Laura Ingraham and Fox News @ Night featuring Shannon Bream, the majority of Fox News’ programming beginning at 6PM will originated from the DC bureau for the first time in the network’s history.

From 6PM to midnight, only two shows will broadcast from the network’s flagship New York studios.

Special Report with Bret Baier, quite possibly the smartest 60 minutes on television, launches the dominant cable network’s prime time programming from DC, as it has going all the way back to Fox’ earliest days with Brit Hume at the helm.  Then New York takes over for an hour with The Story with Martha McCallum.

Then we’re back to DC with Tucker Carlson Tonight who knocks the ping pong ball back to Gotham for Hannity at 9PM.

From there, Ingraham and Bream finish the broadcast day all from the relatively small but scrappy DC bureau where stagehands, technicians and hair & Make-up artists will be tasked with a herculean effort to turn over the two small studios just north of Capitol Hill to accommodate four distinct programs.

It’s a significant shift in power and influence.

Just one year ago, the prime time line up was as follows:

  • 6PM – Special Report with Bret Baier
  • 7PM – For the Record with Greta Van Susteren
  • 8PM – The O’Reilly Factor
  • 9PM – The Kelly File
  • 10PM – Hannity
  • 11PM – O’Reilly re-broadcast

After Van Susteren signed off at 8PM every night, DC shut down for the night except for some hits for politicians or pundits appearing on O’Reilly, Kelly or Hannity’s shows from Washington. What a difference a year makes.

Manhattan has long been the traditional center of the broadcast journalism universe, but considering how the vast majority of television news content is focused on Washington DC, it doesn’t really make sense for all these programs to be centered out of New York, does it? What’s the point?

Hannity’s 9PM program is often 100% focused on the comings and goings of politicians, pundits and journalists from the nation’s capital, yet his program originates from midtown Manhattan. Why? Tradition perhaps.  But in the age of Trump and nearly non-stop coverage and analysis of everything connected with DC politics, the shift to DC for programming may be an inevitable trend and Fox News, as usual, is taking the lead.

One other advantage for Fox News with this Washington focused paradigm fits right into their “Fair and Balanced” brand.  Ingraham and Bream will have the ability to reload their guest panels and interview chairs with congressmen, senators and journalists (not to mention pundits and experts of all stripes) right up to midnight every night. This means that unlike the available talent pool Manhattan offers, Washington has a treasure trove of right-leaning pundits and officials who can do much more than relay the typical talking points that reflect the Upper West Side point of view.

It will be interesting to watch how CNN and MSNBC respond to the new shift. With the bulk of their programming still originating from Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow’s New York City neighborhoods, they will be stuck with the same Manhattan pundits and reporters who regurgitate the same liberal, conventional wisdom talking points night after night after night. There’s just so much Mark Halperin and Ana Navarro one can watch before wanting to see what’s going on in the rest of the country. And Fox News has always found that lane.

Either way, as viewers tune-in to see the much-anticipated debut of Ingraham’s 10Pm program and Fox News’ first ever 11PM live program (broadcast live at 8PM on the West coast) they will be witnessing a palpable (and possible permanent) power shift in the broadcast news universe.

 

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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