Jesse Watters, a Fox News host who has risen from production assistant to one of the conservative cable network’s biggest stars, will take over the 8 p.m. slot vacated by Tucker Carlson, the company announced Monday.
In a statement, Fox News confirmed other changes for the station’s prime time: Laura Ingraham’s evening show will begin at 7 p.m. ET, Sean Hannity will remain in the 9 p.m. ET slot, and Greg Gutfeld’s late-night show will be moved to 10 p.m. ET.
“Fox News Channel has been America’s go-to news and analysis destination for more than 21 years, and we’re excited to announce new programming,” said Suzanne Scott, CEO of the channel.
Carlson’s exit from the station in late April caused ratings to plummet during the pivotal 8 p.m. hour, putting pressure on executives to find a replacement who could attract a strong and loyal audience.
Watters is currently the presenter of the 7 p.m. opinion show “Jesse Watters Primetime,” which the channel says has averaged 2.6 million viewers year-to-date. He is also a regular panelist on “The Five,” one of the network’s most popular shows.
In recent years, Watters has established himself as one of Fox’s most outspoken conservative culture fighters and a staunch defender of former President Donald Trump.
Watters has also sparked heated controversy over inflammatory comments and his on-air behavior.
At the end of 2021, Dr. Anthony Fauci that Watters should be fired for using the phrase “kill shot” in a speech in which he called on young conservative activists to confront the public health leader with tough questions. Fox insisted Watters’ words had been taken out of context.
In 2016, Watters conducted a series of interviews with Asian American people in New York’s Chinatown that critics found racist. In response, elected officials and activists protested outside the network’s headquarters. “I’m sorry if it offended anyone” Watters tweeted.
Watters began his career as a production assistant at Fox News in 2002 when he was just out of college. He built a following on the network by conducting ambush-style interviews with men on the street, which many critics found hostile and aggressive.
Fox News announced on April 24 that it was separating from Carlson, the station’s most popular prime-time host and a leading voice in the modern conservative movement known for his right-wing views and conspiratorial rhetoric. He has since started a new show on Twitter.
The network announced the overwhelming news days after it agreed to pay nearly $800 million to Dominion Voting Systems to avert a high-risk defamation lawsuit that cast a shadow over the network’s future.