×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

  • THE EXORCIST

    'Exorcist' Star Max Von Sydow Doesn't Let Age Define His Roles

    Max von Sydow turned 90 this month, which is a milestone for most people, but age has always seemed incidental to the actor. When he played the elderly, frail Father Merrin in “The Exorcist,” von Sydow was 44 — meaning he was the same age Bradley Cooper is today. In the 1950s, von Sydow had [...]

  • Gentleman Jack Suranne Jones

    TV Review: HBO's 'Gentleman Jack'

    “Nature played a challenging trick on me, didn’t she?” Anne Lister (Suranne Jones) first utters this sentence with an arch amusement, but over the course of Sally Wainwright’s new drama “Gentleman Jack,” she repeats the sentiment with pride, exhaustion and defiance. Living in 1832 Halifax as a lesbian with a penchant for sweeping black suits [...]

  • Inside the Music of Netflix's 'Ingress:

    Inside the Music of Netflix's 'Ingress: The Animation' (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Ingress: The Animation” hit last fall in Japan, but the global release doesn’t hit Netflix until April 30, fortunately, it’s bringing a little something new to the show based on Niantic’s other popular video game. The global version of the show will feature a new musical score created by Jacob Yoffee (“Free Meek,” “Andi Mack”). [...]

  • Action Bronson Cannibis and Legalization

    Action Bronson Has Music, Marijuana and the Munchies Covered in Booming Career

    Action Bronson is a 21st century renaissance man. A hip-hop icon who recently released his fifth album, “White Bronco,” the Flushing, Queens, native, whose real name is Ariyan Arslani — with a Muslim Albanian father and Latvian Jewish mother — is probably best-known for hosting a pair of TV series for Viceland: the talk variety [...]

  • Netflix Our Planet Sophie Darlington

    Netflix's 'Our Planet' Roars to Life With Work by Top Wildlife Cinematographers

    In terms of scope, production time and — very likely — budget, Netflix’s “Our Planet” is one of the most ambitious projects from the streaming service to date. Narrated by David Attenborough and made available worldwide on April 5, the goal of the eight-part series is to capture diverse habitats across the globe and highlight [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content