Greta Van Susteren Out at MSNBC—Here’s Where Other Anchors Are Post-Roger Ailes
Greta Van Susteren, the longtime Fox News personality who recently joined rival MSNBC, announced on Thursday that she was leaving the Peacock Network.
The news comes just six months after Van Susteren joined the network and is the latest evidence that Fox News anchors who left the popular network during a tumultuous period last year (involving sexual harassment allegations surrounding the late Fox News chairman Roger Ailes) are struggling in their new roles.
While Van Susteren didn’t offer an explanation—she tweeted simply: “I am out at MSNBC”—a New York Times story from earlier this month hints that it may have something to do with low ratings. “It’s not breaking out,” NBC News chairman Andrew “Andy” Lack said of Van Susteren’s show.
Lack added that though every new show has pressure to succeed from Day One, true success takes time to demonstrate. “I’ve got a lot of patience,” he said at the time.
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Apparently that wasn’t enough. Van Susteren is replaced by Ari Melber, the network’s chief legal correspondent and weekend host of The Point.
Was Van Susteren really a failure, or did her show simply need more time? We’ll never know. The core question is whether, as Vanity Fair‘s Emily Jane Fox points out, her brand of right-centrism made “sense outside of Fox News in 2017, and whether a star at that network can shine anywhere other than the very particular universe that Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch created.” (Fox argues it did not—for the record.)
Evidence is growing that former Fox News stars haven’t quite blossomed in a post-Ailes world.
The latest episode of Megyn Kelly’s new NBC show, which premiered last month, attracted just 3.5 million viewers, the smallest number that has tuned in since the show the debuted three weeks ago and despite the controversy surrounding her guest, conspiracy theorist and far-right radio host Alex Jones. (To put the 3.5 million number into perspective, that’s slightly fewer than the number of people who watched ABC’s America’s Funniest Home Videos that night.)
Gretchen Carlson, who filed a much-publicized sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes, has taken a step back from TV. She currently writes a column for Time magazine (which is also owned by Fortune publisher Time Inc.) and is preparing for the publication of a book she wrote about sexual harassment. The former Fox and Friends host has made the issue her priority and has agreed to testify before Congress about forced arbitration, the fine print in many employment contracts that requires employees to give up their rights to litigation and instead agree to settle all employment disputes via arbitration.
Other anchors who left Fox News last year are finding it difficult to move on, though some situations relate to the conditions of their departure. Among them: Bob Beckel, the former co-host of The Five, who was terminated after he made a racist remark to another Fox employee; and Bill O’Reilly, who was fired amid a firestorm over sexual harassment allegations. Neither have joined new networks.
One anchor that seems to be finding career success post-Fox? Heather Nauert. The former Fox & Friends host was appointed the State Department’s first official spokesperson during the Trump administration.