“If I were a liberal, I would watch Rachel Maddow,” says Laura Ingraham. “She’s really passionate about what she does.”
Ingraham is not a liberal, and she most likely will not have a lot of time in the days ahead to watch Maddow’s progressive-analysis program on MSNBC. Indeed, the veteran conservative-leaning host and President Trump confidante could give Maddow, who in recent months has often enjoyed the distinction of being the most-watched primetime host in cable news, new competition. Her “The Ingraham Angle” kicks off a new era of Fox News Channel primetime on Monday and is likely to be as attractive to viewers of the 21st Century Fox-owned cable-news outlet as Maddow’s is to her network’s audience.
“It’s politics and the rest of life” that will stand at the center of her new 10 p.m. program. Ingraham says she is eager to look not just at the latest news developments, like Senator Jeff Flake’s decision to retire from the U.S. Senate, but also changes in American culture, as well as the effects of giving a smartphone to a 10-year-old. And the show will develop as it moves along, she says. “Everything is on the table and it’s a work in progress.”
Executives likely hope Ingraham’s arrival on Monday along with the addition of Shannon Bream at 11 p.m. – the first time a live show will air regularly on Fox News in that time slot — will cap a flurry of schedule changes that have been made since the controversial departure of Bill O’Reilly in April. As part of the shifts, each weeknight on Fox will be full of live programming, said Meade Cooper, senior vice president of primetime programming at Fox News Channel. Tucker Carlson runs a live hour at 8 p.m. (O’Reilly often did not), and Sean Hannity has returned to doing a live show at 9 p.m., rather than taping a program on most days for the 10 p.m. slot. And there will be more women anchoring evening and daytime programming on Fox News than at rivals CNN or MSNBC.