Tucker Carlson: Fox News names Jesse Watters to replace star anchoron June 26, 2023 at 4:57 pm

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Jesse Watters, who joined the network in 2002, will host the channel’s primetime evening slot.

Jesse Watters in 2017Image source, Getty Images

Fox News has announced that long-time network personality Jesse Watters will replace ousted star Tucker Carlson.

The departure of Carlson, the most-watched cable news host in US history, has led to a downturn in the channel’s primetime ratings.

Watters, 44, joined the network as a production assistant in 2002 and has anchored the 19:00 EDT (23:00 GMT) timeslot since the start of this year.

Fox News said in April that it was parting ways with Carlson.

The announcement came less than a week after the network settled a defamation lawsuit from the voting machine company Dominion over coverage of the 2020 presidential election.

The $787.5m (£619m) settlement narrowly averted a potentially embarrassing trial for Fox, and one at which Carlson was expected to be called to testify.

Carlson, 54, has since launched a new show he presents twice weekly on Twitter. Its first episode, on 6 June, has racked up nearly 120 million views.

Tucker Carlson Tonight drew upwards of three million daily viewers, regularly topping its cable competitors in the 20:00 hour.

Earlier this month, Fox sent Carlson a cease-and-desist letter, arguing that his new show was a breach of contract as he is still being paid by the network until the end of 2024.

Since his show was taken off air, a series of rotating hosts – including Watters – have anchored the timeslot, drawing roughly half of Carlson’s audience.

Earlier in June, the network briefly lost its 120-week streak at the top of the primetime ratings to liberal rival MSNBC, although it has since reclaimed the spot.

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Watters, best known for his man-on-the-street interviews in New York City, is co-host of the popular roundtable show The Five.

His instalment in Carlson’s old timeslot comes amid a broader shake-up in the channel’s nightly line-up.

Laura Ingraham, who hosts The Ingraham Angle, is moving to the 19:00 hour, while popular late-night host Greg Gutfeld will take over at 22:00, the network announced on Monday.

Sean Hannity, a primetime Fox anchor for more than two decades, will see his show remain in the 21:00 slot, the network said.

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