×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

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.

More TV

  • Netflix - The Witcher

    'The Witcher' on Track to Be Netflix's Biggest TV Show Premiere Ever

    Netflix said “The Witcher,” the fantasy series starring Henry Cavill, is pacing to be its biggest first-season TV series ever. “The Witcher,” which debuted Dec. 20 on Netflix, was watched by 76 million customer households in the first four weeks of release, according to the company. “As a testament to how our hit content can [...]

  • RuPaul

    RuPaul, JJ Watt to Host 'Saturday Night Live' in February

    RuPaul and JJ Watt will both make their “Saturday Night Live” hosting debuts in February. NBC announced Tuesday that Watt will host the Feb. 1 installment of the long-running sketch series with musical guest Luke Combs. Watt is currently a defensive end for the Houston Texans and three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year. Combs’ [...]

  • Gary Dauberman

    'Annabelle,' 'IT' Screenwriter Gary Dauberman Inks First-Look Deal at UCP

    Gary Dauberman has signed a first-look television deal with Universal Content Productions (UCP), the studio announced Tuesday. Under the deal, Dauberman will write and produce scripted projects across all platforms. He will also launch his own production company, Coin Operated. Dauberman is known for his work on the screenplay for the new film version of [...]

  • Chris McCarthy Sets ViacomCBS Team for

    Chris McCarthy Sets ViacomCBS Leadership Team for Entertainment & Youth Division

    ViacomCBS’ senior leadership ranks are coming into sharper focus as Chris McCarthy, head of the sprawling Entertainment and Youth wing has solidified his senior leadership team. A number of executives closely associated with McCarthy are gaining additional responsibilities, including programming maven Nina Diaz, MTV chief marketing officer Jacqueline Parkes and PR chief Liza Burnett Fefferman. [...]

  • Jonathan Del Arco

    'Star Trek: Picard' Actor Jonathan Del Arco Launches 'Hollywood Caucus' Podcast With First Guest Jeri Ryan

    Jonathan Del Arco is boldly going into the intersection of entertainment and politics. On Tuesday, the “Star Trek: Picard” actor debuted his new podcast “Hollywood Caucus,” with co-host Tara Karsian. Hailing from Dan Harmon’s Starburns Audio, the podcast will feature interviews with figures from both the entertainment industry and the political sphere. For the premiere [...]

  • The Prince HBO Max

    HBO Max Orders Animated British Royal Family Satire Series 'The Prince'

    HBO Max has ordered an animated comedy series centered on the British royal family. “The Prince” hails from writer and executive producer Gary Janetti. Based on Janetti’s Instagram account, the series takes a look at the royals through the eyes of Prince George, the eldest child of Prince William and Princess Kate. Janetti will voice [...]

  • HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 20: EVP,

    WarnerMedia Taps Cheryl Idell as EVP, Chief Research Officer

    WarnerMedia has appointed Cheryl Idell as executive vice president, chief research officer of its entertainment and direct-to-consumer divisions. In her new role, Idell will be responsible for overseeing multiple areas of research across WarnerMedia Entertainment, including viewership, content, and strategic market research, insights and analytics. Her purview will also include all aspects of research for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content