Fox News’ Martha MacCallum Rises to ‘First 100 Days’ Challenge in Primetime

Martha MacCallum: Fox News Host Talks
Courtesy of Fox News

For Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum, anchoring a new primetime hour focused on the Trump administration’s first 100 days in office is a natural extension of the election coverage that consumed so much of her working hours during the past 18 months.

MacCallum was a natural choice for Fox News, to help fill the vacancy in its primetime lineup following the surprise of Megyn Kelly’s decision to leave the all-news cabler for a new gig at NBC News.

MacCallum has been a presence on Fox News since 2004. Most recently, she’s been the co-anchor with Bill Hemmer of the 9-11 a.m. “America’s Newscast” block. And she was a regular fill-in host for Kelly on her 9 p.m. “The Kelly File.” Starting Monday she’ll shift from daytime to the lead off hour of primetime as the solo anchor of “The First 100 Days,” to air at 7 p.m. now that the previous occupant of the slot, Tucker Carlson’s “On the Record,” is moving to 9 p.m.

MacCallum has no shortage of ambition for her show. She wants it to be a vehicle for holding Trump and his administration accountable for the promises he made to voters during the bruising campaign against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

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Fox News, like other news organizations, is under pressure to show that it will demonstrate its journalistic independence in covering Trump and his new administration as it seeks to up-end the status quo. Trump’s contentious relationship with the mainstream news media — as evidenced by his conduct during his Jan. 11 news conference — promises to be a challenge for the Fourth Estate.

“We’re going to be very newsy and cutting-edge,” MacCallum told Variety. “This show is very much about accountability and truth and holding Trump to the things he said he wanted to do.”

“The First 100 Days” will originate from Fox News’ Midtown Manhattan headquarters, with contributions from correspondents in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere. She also intends to incorporate a panel of everyday people in an effort to bring “the voice of the voters” into the show. “I don’t think people will hesitate to tell us what they think about how Trump is doing,” she said.

MacCallum expects to trek to D.C. on a regular basis for sit-down interviews with key administration officials. “They’ve said they will be available to us and we’re going to hold them to it,” she said. MacCallum’s executive producers are “Kelly File” alums Tommy Firth and Tom Lowell.

The decision to call MacCallum up to the big leagues of primetime came together quickly after Kelly’s Jan. 3 announcement of her move to NBC News. The anchor has long been a history buff, particularly as it relates to presidential administrations. She’d been looking back at past presidential inauguration speeches in preparation for covering Trump’s Jan. 20 swearing-in ceremony. And she’d been thinking about stories to be done through the prism of the first 100 days, a concept that dates back to Franklin Roosevelt’s first term in office.

MacCallum promises to weave a lot of history into the coverage and analysis of the day’s headlines.
“I want to put Trump in historical context and see where he fits in the realm of presidential history,” she said. “He won this election with a very unconventional mix (of political ideology) that was not quite Republican — it’s Trumpism. So we want to really show our audience — what does that look like now?”

MacCallum emphasized that the bar is high for Trump to move forcefully in his first weeks in office, given his vow to break through the gridlock in Washington, or in Trump’s terms: “Drain the swamp.”

“Remember the faces of people at his rallies and how excited they were about his message,” MacCallum said. The new administration “really has to deliver.”

MacCallum’s show by its very title may have a limited run in the time slot. She is hopeful that it will evolve into a permanent part of the primetime lineup. For now, her focus is on delivering rigorous and objective coverage of the new administration.

“We’re not cheering it on and we’re not rooting for it to fail,” MacCallum said.

MacCallum hasn’t had much time to think about what “First 100 Days” could mean for her profile in TV news — she’s been too busy pulling the show together. She’ll miss her partnership with Hemmer in the mornings — she admits she had not particularly focused on landing a primetime slot prior to Kelly’s departure. The fact that the opportunity popped up so quickly is part and parcel of the unpredictability of TV news, something she’s enjoyed since her earliest days in local TV.

“I’m very invigorated by this project,” MacCallum says. “It feels like the natural way to continue our coverage. I love that we’re going to bring a historical element. I think it’s good in life just to shake it up once in a while.”

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  1. Norman Lindstrom says:

    Martha is a star!

    • Camille says:

      Brilliant! Fox chose one of their sharpest, smartest and articulate media women to present the beginning of the Trump administration. Bravo, Martha! Hope they give Perino and Guilfoil their due too.

  2. Tess Gipson says:

    LOVE Martha – she’ll be a big success and the deep bench that Fox has is a testament to the judgement of Murdock. let the prima donnas / AKA meghan/ go to the loser networks and disappear into obscurity.

  3. Martha will be great! Looking forward to viewing her show!

  4. Ted Stanwood says:

    I was a bit surprised when Tucker Carlson stepped into the Kelly slot, I expected this lady to get the nod. I had about given up on Kelly anyway, and Martha is not only better appearing, she doesn’t rely on “cutesy” faces like Kelly was doing so much of. But, Carlson is doing OK and he doesn’t pull any punches, and McCallum is doing fine too. Kelly? She does not really seem to even be missed, does, she?

  5. Mark says:

    I always love it when these liberal dunder heads come trolling in fill the room with light and then go back under their rock. We have seen who you really are the last 45 days. CNN is what you deserve. Good luck Martha (as if you need it), enjoy what you do you are one of the best.

  6. Roderick clay says:

    fake fox news F the whole dam bunch F chump trump too suckling.

  7. Given that the show is about Trump coming into office, shouldn’t the show be more accurately entitled, “The Last 100 Days of America”?

  8. Terry P says:

    I’ll believe it when I see it. FOX hasn’t done such a great job so far at holding Trump accountable for anything. They have been totally in the bag for the Liar In Chief. One has only to check out the lovefest between Trump and Hannity, Trump and O’Reilly, Trump and “FOX and Friends”, Trump and all things FOX. The only one there who tried to maintain objectivity and integrity was Megyn Kelly. And we see where that went.

  9. Joyce says:

    Martha is so down to earth and sincere in her comments. She outshines Meghn Kelley!! I hope she
    has great success on Fox News.

  10. James Miller says:

    Good Luck Martha. Just another good thing to come from Megyn leaving. Now I can keep watching Fox during this time slot.

  11. MARTHA WILL DO WELL SHE IS INTELLIGENT AND SMART SHE IS MY FAVOURITE AT FOX I WISH HER THE BEST BRAVO MARTHA.

  12. Johnny Sins says:

    My fav anchor on any network now. MM is the best!

    • K. Greene says:

      The jury is out; but I hope she does a good and FAIR job. Just don’t let the limelight go to your head like Megyn did! She let herself be the star rather than the news coverage. We don’t want MORE CELEBRITIES; just the facts, ma’am!

      • Bobbi says:

        Boy, is THAT the truth!! Ms. Kelly became so condescendingly arrogant, the past couple years, she was annoying. I don’t know what the heck got into her. It’s probably best that she leaves and gets a fresh start…perhaps she can acquire a little humility before she starts anew. Good luck to Martha, she’ll do a great job!

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