Fox News announced yesterday that longtime anchor Shepard Smith would vacate his 7 p.m. slot as part of the primetime reshuffling of programs that will feature Megyn Kelly, when she returns from maternity leave.
If that is the case, then it is likely that Greta Van Susteren will remain in her 10 p.m. slot and not move to an earlier time period, as she hinted might happen in an interview a few months ago.
Smith isn’t leaving Fox News, but instead will lead what he called an “incredibly expensive” breaking news division that will have the ability to interrupt current programming throughout the day.
He will also continue to host his Studio B program at 3 p.m. while taking on the new duties.
Smith has been handily beating the competition at 7 p.m. If Hannity can match his current ratings in the earlier slot, then he will give The O’Reilly Factor an even stronger lead-in than Smith has been.
From a ratings standpoint, though, Fox probably would have done better by letting Smith stay put and having Hannity move to 10 p.m., where he would very likely improve upon Van Susteren’s ratings and further strengthen Fox’s grip as the number one cable news network. But no matter what they finally decide, it should still be net plus for them.