Former Arkansas Governor Takes ‘Huckabee’ From Fox News to Religious Broadcaster

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee Moves
Courtesy Trinity Broadcasting

Viewers who liked Mike Huckabee when he held forth on Fox News Channel on Saturday nights are likely to get a super-serving of him very soon on religious broadcaster Trinity Broadcasting Network.

The former Republican governor of Arkansas and presidential candidate is taking his show to Nashville, where he hopes to expand interview segments and host musicians and artists while maintaining many of the elements that kept him on Fox News for nearly seven years. “People who have seen the Fox show are going to be very comfortable, at home and familiar with it,” said Huckabee, in an interview from Jerusalem where he is taping a special for TBN.

The former governor’s Fox News program had political commentary, conversation – and a little music in the form of a house band of network staffers. Melissa Etheridge once came on as a guest in an appearance even Huckabee acknowledged proved a surprise to observers. “She told me she had gotten a lot of negative feedback from her fans for doing my show,” he recalled, but they still managed to find connections. “Despite what people may think, I have strong views, but I just don’t dislike anybody.”

His journey to TBN also spotlights the durability of some of the Fox News formats and personalities. Bill O’Reilly put in two decades as the linchpin of the cable-news network’s lineup, and continues to draw interest with a podcast as well as new appearances with commentator Glenn Beck, after being forced from his home due to the revelation of settlements made to women who alleged sexual harassment. Sinclair Broadcast Group has agreed to pay $3.9 billion for Tribune Broadcasting, sparking speculation that the Maryland buyer, known for backing conservative programming, might like to build a Fox News-type operation on the backs of its local stations.

Huckabee had hopes of returning to Fox News Channel after ending his campaign in February of 2016, but found executives at the 21st Century Fox-owned outlet had other ideas about how to use weekend time. He remains a Fox News contributor under a contract he says lasts for another two years.

When he suggested the idea of taking his program elsewhere, Fox News consented, he said, so long as he didn’t do the program for a direct competitor. TBN, meanwhile considers the show, which will be taped in front of a live studio audience to be “the first of many new developments at our network,” according to a statement from Matt Crouch, the company’s chairman. The company regularly broadcasts programming from pastor Joel Osteen, among other figures.

“This is a big step for them, out of their normal wheelhouse,” said Huckabee. “My show is not going to be a religious show, and it’s intentionally not. The best way to describe it is it’s a show and the host happens to be a person who is unapologetically a Christian, a believer, and it will have a point of view. But not every segment is necessarily going to have some overtone of faith elements.”

Huckabee believes most viewers want content, not confrontation. He maintains his folksier style and willingness to engage with people who may be at odds with his political beliefs is powerful draw in middle America. “My views are certainly conservative and I don’t think anyone would doubt that, but I also have to believe most people in America are not horizontal. They aren’t left-right, liberal-conservative, Democratic-Republican.” Instead, he added, people are more interested in improvements all sides recognize as necessary in schools, health care and infrastructure. “Those are not horizontal issues.”

He also believes he will be able to spend more time with his guests. “One of my frustrations with cable news is it’s often four minutes and move on, four minutes and move on,” he said. He’s clearly going to spend more time with his new employer: Huckabee will host a special taped in Israel that airs on TBN Wednesday evening.

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  1. Jule Perrin says:

    Gov. Huckabee We Deplorables .. We
    Conservatives Are Looking Forward Seeing You .. You Have Been Dearly Missed. Congradulations,, Sir!! You Are So Deserving.

    Please, Keep Us Informed .. Date / Time!

    You Are So Loved and Highly Respected!!

    Can Hardly Wait!

    Wish Bill O’Riley .. Gretta Could Have A Spot Ever So Often On Your Program. Just A Wish, Sir.

    Again, May I Express How Happy We Are To Have You Back! Will Surely Be Watching .. Will Not Miss A Program.

    God Be The Glory!

  2. Mary Kukral says:

    Thought for sure u were going to be on for sure. I missed u and weren’t able to vote for u for POTUS. Looking forward to your new show. So happy u decided to come back. Now I will check to see of we get TBN. If not we will be getting it. Appreciate all u do. Thank u and God Bless. Mary Kukral.

  3. lulu says:

    It seems that FOX probably had a conflict of interest since the Governor’s daughter is a spokesperson for the Trump Administration. I have lived in Nashville for over 50 years and have no idea on what channel Trinity can be found. I think that it is difficult to entertain differing opinions as you become older because you are shaped by time and the experience of what has been learned to be true in your life.

  4. Stacy Harris says:

    Nashville’s morning newspaper, The Tennessean, censors opposing viewpoints (small wonder it has no reader advocate, let alone an editorial board representative who works independent of the newsroom) so if Huckabee truly embraces differing viewpoints, he already has a constituency of those with divergent viewpoints yearning for a sounding board.

    I’m not optimistic, however. When Governor Huckabee was a presidential candidate who encouraged voters to contact him via his website, mine was among the comments left by those of us who loved his radio show. I added that the common sense reasoning he embraced on his radio show was being overshadowed by his desire to curry favor with the far right- the only obstacle to his winning the nomination of his party.

    I would have welcomed Huckabee’s challenging my views. Instead he chose to ignore them.

    What good is having your say if you intended audience isn’t listening? A viewpoint is only viable if it can withstand challenge. And if it’s not challenged, whether or not it can be supported by fact is open to question.

  5. Kathy Rice says:

    Can’t wait for it to start, never missed one of your shows. I know you said Wednesday night, but not the time or the starting date.

  6. Amanda says:

    Loved your show on Fox and am excited to resume watching on TBN. What day and time?

  7. Frank Vega says:

    Don’t care much for TBN but the gov is easy watching because he isn’t confrontational and very knowledgeable about his topics.

  8. Connie L Bickel says:

    We’re with you all the way Mike.

  9. Jim Wesberry says:

    Last nail in Fox coffin.

  10. I will definitely watch this!

  11. C. L. white says:

    I watch CBN so I will look Gov Huckabee good guy!

  12. Lorna Metzger says:

    When you had your program on Fox News Channel I watched it every week and thoroughly enjoyed it. I don’t get Trinity Broadcasting so won’t be able to see your new program. I wish you well in this new endeavour and I’m sure many will be blessed just as I was. God bless you!

  13. Jim Hicks says:

    Best wishes, Mike. I want for you to have success and God’s richest blessings on you new enterprise.

  14. George Lewis says:

    Best wishes Governor Huckabee for continued success in your endeavors.

    Hope Sinclair develops a competitive news channel on WGN.

  15. Larry says:

    Love Mike! Can’t wait to see the show…

  16. Tom says:

    Wonder how that faith of his works out with his daughter Sarah being a huckstery spinner of mistruths?

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