If you’ve ever watched Fox News and thought to yourself, “Wow, Roger Ailes must be a sociopath or something,” now you’ve got your confirmation. Interestingly enough, it’s not coming from some tenuously sourced, barely newsworthy piece of bullshit reactionary agitprop splashed across the network’s air with breathless abandon in the name of bringing down Barack Obama, but from a programming decision behind-the-scenes and they way it’s being handled by the management ghosts in the machine over at Fox News HQ.
Maybe by now you’ve heard that Megyn Kelly will be heading to FNC’s primetime. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, given that, while the rest of us see her as a yapping chihuahua who’s very irate about being left in somebody’s Louis Vuitton handbag for too long, Fox News regards Kelly as one of its brightest stars. During her years at Fox daytime, she’s always known exactly the right buttons to press — and the way to contort her face into that perfect expression of incredulity and condescension when facing down a liberal argument — to assure her continued meteoric rise up the Fox News talent ladder. What’s entertaining, though, are the details of Kelly’s promotion, in that there are none at the moment. Fox says Kelly’s moving, but it won’t say where — which means, obviously, that somebody in Fox News prime is going to lose his or her job or at the very least wind up displaced in some manner.
It’s really a hell of a thing to pull, when you think about it. So far, no one on the current primetime schedule is copping to being told by management that he or she will be sent packing or forced to share the stage with Kelly, but you’d like to believe that the mechanics were ironed out and everyone affected was informed before the official announcement was made. Obviously, since Kelly is a star, she’s not going to Fox prime to be a newsreader for somebody else. She may have co-hosting duties, but that’s as much ground as she’ll be giving up unless both she and her agent are idiots. What this means is that Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, or Greta Van Susteren — one of them — is going to have to be pushed aside to make room for Kelly. And if they’re all telling the truth when they say they’re staying put, then Fox News management is sincerely, profoundly, sociopathically fucking with them all.
It almost goes without saying that right now the smart money is on Van Susteren getting the boot. Word has it she recently approached napoleonic CNN President Jeff Zucker about getting her old job back at the network but was ultimately rebuffed — the stink of Fox News doesn’t wash off easily — so she may know her days are numbered one way or the other. Couple that with the likelihood that both Hannity and O’Reilly will die on the air at Fox, they’re such cemented presences there, and Greta’s the only logical choice. As they say, if you eliminate the impossible — in this case, Hannity and O’Reilly — whatever’s left, however improbable, must be the right answer.
Still, if Ailes really didn’t tell his current primetimers where Megyn Kelly’s going to land, only that she’s going to land somewhere, then I see him as Heath Ledger’s Joker, breaking a pool cue into two sharp sticks and dropping them on the floor in front of his supplicant hosts and probably laughing while they fight to the death. It’s a fun way to both tease the audience with big changes on the horizon and to keep his highly paid talent on their toes while reminding them, as they need to be every once in a while, who’s really in charge.
What happens next? Stay tuned, I guess.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.