×

Fox News Channel Keeps Counting on ‘The Five’

Fox News Channel is known best for primetime hosts like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, but its top executive is also enthusiastic about “The Five,” a panel show that airs each day at 5 p.m.

“No matter where it went, it was the best decision I ever made as a programming executive,” says Suzanne Scott, Fox News’ chief executive, in an interview. These days, Dana Perino, Greg Gutfeld, Juan Williams and Jesse Watters host the show with a guest sitting in each day.

Originally conceived in 2011 as a program that would give more air time to a bevy of Fox News contributors who did not have their own roost on the schedule, “The Five” has delivered for Fox News in times both easy and difficult. It usually airs each afternoon, but for a period of a few months in 2017, it moved to primetime as Fox News dealt with the one-two punch of losing both Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly. Fox News originally launched it to fill in for the departure of the controversial Glenn Beck, whose program had come to an end.

“The Five” has never been outmatched by rival programming on CNN or MSNBC in either total viewers or in the demographic most favored by advertisers in news content, people between 25 and 54. In March, according to Nielsen, its overall viewership surged 21% and rose 2% in the demo.

“It’s a great show for us, and it’s a great show for America, actually,” says Scott, who had a role in the program’s creation.

She recalls watching a pilot involving some of the program’s original personalities, particularly Gutfeld, who had been hosting his own late-night show on Fox News, and Perino, the former White House Press Secretary under President George W. Bush. The two were placed next to one another, as Fox News executives tried to determine which combinations of anchors would best connect with the audience. “The two of them had never met before that day,” says Scott. “The chemistry was natural. They are both really smart. He’s incredibly clever and funny and she’s sort of the straight smart one.”

Scott says she turned to look at John Finley, a veteran Fox News executive who has had a hand in developing many of the network’s recent programs. “We knew this was going to be a hit.”

Others appeared to take notice. “The Five” first started as a fill-in program before being made a permanent part of the Fox News line-up. By November of 2011, Entertainment Weekly critic Ken Tucker praised the show for the way it showed a squabbling “family” of hosts bickering over the issues of the day. “The Five,” he said, was a “delightfully nutty show with an undercurrent of ragin’ crazy.” By June of 2012, MSNBC had launched “The Cycle,” a 3 p.m. panel show featuring Krystal Ball, S.E. Cupp, Steve Kornacki and Toure.

“I believe a show like ‘The Five’ reflects how many of us live our lives — with family and friends having varying backgrounds and opinions on a wide range of topics from politics to crime and culture stories to water-cooler topics…and even if we are debating or disagreeing about something, we can end every topic laughing and feeling good,” says Scott. “And that is what we see on ‘The Five’ — they can disagree and debate but still have fun and laugh together in the end.”

The show has also been good for its hosts. Perino got her own hour on Fox News in October of 2017. Gutfeld has moved on to a Saturday-night program.

As for “The Five” itself? The show nabs more viewers at 5 p.m. – approximately 2.6 million – than programming on ESPN, Nickelodeon or HGTV.

More TV

  • Pablo Guisa, Pablo Cruz, Enrique López

    Morbido, El Estudio Team on Massive Trans-Atlantic Genre Initiative (EXCLUSIVE)

    Trans-Atlantic Spanish-language production powerhouse El Estudio and Mexico’s Morbido Group have joined forces in the largest genre, horror and fantasy production initiative in the Spanish-speaking world. Feature films, series, remakes and reboots of classic IP and even unscripted programming are all part of the plan going forward for El Estudio and Morbido. Already, the companies [...]

  • Wolfsburg

    Italy's Cross Set for Werewolf Immigrant TV Series 'Wolfsburg' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Italy’s Cross Productions, in which Germany’s Beta Film has a stake, is shopping “Wolfsburg,” a high-end TV series which turns on an Italian immigrant who during the 1960s arrives in the German city of Wolfsburg, headquarters of Volkswagen Group, and morphs into a murderous werewolf. The innovative skein, now in advanced development, is being set up [...]

  • Lincoln Younes

    'Lost Boys' Pilot at CW Casts Lincoln Younes in Kiefer Sutherland Role

    The CW’s revamped (get it?) “Lost Boys” pilot has cast one of its lead roles. Lincoln Younes has been cast in the series as Benjamin, the charismatic leader of the gang of vampires in a seemingly idyllic North Carolina seaside town. Younes’ role is most similar to the role of David in the 1987 film [...]

  • Gary Levine and Jana Winograde Showtime

    Showtime, HBO Broaden Scope as Parent Companies Aim to Grow Their Audiences

    For years, the halo around premium cablers such as HBO and Showtime has been integral to their branding. Their parent companies in a past life — Time Warner and CBS, respectively — seemed to be content with the tens of millions of subscribers each had accumulated. But now, shepherded by new corporate owners — AT&T’s [...]

  • Josh Brolin Dune

    Josh Brolin to Lead Amazon Drama Series 'Outer Range'

    Josh Brolin has found his next role. The “Avengers” and “No Country for Old Men” star has signed on to play the lead role in “Outer Range,” a thriller which received a series order at Amazon. The show was announced as part of the TV overall deal that Amazon signed with Brad Pitt’s Plan B [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content