Maria Bartiromo, Trey Gowdy Among Hosts Trying Out in Fox News’ 7PM Opinion Hour

Maria Bartiromo will be among the Fox News Channel personnel taking a crack at leading “Fox News Primetime,”  the cable-news outlet’s new opinion hour at 7 p.m.

Bartiromo and contributors Katie Pavlich, Mark Steyn, Rachel Campos-Duffy and former U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy are among those who will rotate as anchors on the program. Fox News launched an overhauled daytime lineup today that placed the former 7 p.m. anchor, Martha MacCallum, in the afternoons, and reserved the hour instead for an additional hour of  opinion-based programming. Brian Kilmeade, the “Fox & Friends” co-host, kicks off the show today and will be followed by the other hosts, a spokesperson for the network confirmed Monday.

The Los Angeles Times previously reported the hosts who will rotate each week in the new program. There was no immediate indication that any of the hosts taking part in the 7 p.m. rotation had any lead in taking on the job permanently.

Executives at Fox News Channel have been mulling post-election programming changes for some time, but the new schedule launches as the network is grappling with recent viewership shifts. Rivals CNN and MSNBC have seen new audience levels since the election, as viewers gravitate to those cable outlets for coverage of the transition from President Donald Trump to President-elect Joe Biden.

Fox has also seen pushback from the far-right portion of its audience, who appear to be offended the network’s election decision team didn’t back off a correct call it made on Election Night that Biden would carry voting in Arizona. In recent weeks, a right-leaning rival to Fox News, the small independent outlet Newsmax, has seen some viewership levels rise as it refused to call the election for Biden. Newsmax has since acknowledged Biden won the 2020 election.

Bartiromo’s position in the 7 p.m. rotation could raise some eyebrows. The longtime business-news anchor holds down two different jobs at Fox News — one as the morning anchor for Fox Business Network and another as the host of a Sunday-morning newsmaker-interview program, “Sunday Morning Futures,” at the company’s flagship outlet. But she has come under scrutiny in recent weeks for questioning the results of the 2020 election and making claims — without offering hard evidence — of voting fraud. A new job as an opinion host may give the former CNBC veteran room to offer her thoughts without being questioned like a news-side colleague such as Neil Cavuto or Bill Hemmer might.

The other hosts in the rotation have been regular Fox News contributors for some time. Duffy, who first gained a profile during a season of MTV’s “The Real World” and during appearances on ABC’s “The View,” has been a contributor on Fox News for the last few years. She is married to Sean Duffy, another former “Real World” participant who recently served as a U.S. Representative from Wisconsin. Steyn, a conservative author, has been a frequent contributor to “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the 8 p.m. program on Fox News, and even served as that show’s fill-in host. Pavlich, a political commentator, has appeared on the Fox News programs “Outnumbered” and “The Five,” among others.

Fox News has over the years used its 7 p.m. for various purposes. Brit Hume, Greta Van Susteren and Carlson have all held forth in that slot, as have news-side personnel like MacCallum and Shepard Smith.




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