Controversial host Jesse Watters will occupy the weekday Fox News primetime slot once occupied by Tucker Carlson, the network said Monday.
Laura Ingraham will present at 7 p.m., Watters at 8 p.m., Sean Hannity at 9 p.m. and Greg Gutfield at 10 p.m., Fox News said.
Carlson was fired in April, following Fox’s $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems to end a defamation lawsuit over Donald Trump’s broadcast of lies about voter fraud in the 2020 election. .
Fox has said the firing was unrelated to the deal. Carlson has not commented.
Last week, Puck reporter Dylan Byers wrote that the Dominion deal “showed the punitive costs of following Trump’s base too far into fever swamps.”
Carlson is now broadcasting on Twitter, a series of short conspiracy-related monologues that draw a cease-and-desist letter from his former employer.
Since firing Carlson, Fox has filled its 8 pm slot with a rotating cast of guest hosts. Ratings have suffered.
Though arguably less focused on far-right politics, Watters is a Carlson-style polemicist, often goading the mainstream media with harsh, insensitive or possibly racist comments.
In 2016, he sparked controversy for a segment filmed in Chinatown in New York City that he said was “ironic” but which then-Mayor Bill de Blasio called “vile and racist behavior.”
In December 2021, Watters said that members of the public should “amush” Anthony Fauci, Joe Biden’s chief scientific adviser and leader of the effort to contain the coronavirus pandemic, and “deliver the killing shot.”
Fauci, who has received death threats during the pandemic, said Watters should be fired.
Fox said it was “more than clear that Jesse Watters was using a metaphor to ask Dr. Fauci hard-hitting questions about gain-of-function research.”
Less than a month later, Watters, also a co-host of The Five, was granted the 7 p.m.
Last week, in a segment complaining about homelessness (a regular target) in San Francisco, Watters called the homeless “bags of meat mutating on the sidewalk.”
In an Islamophobic comment, he also called San Francisco a “fentanyl caliphate” which he said allowed the homeless to “rape, rob and rob.”
Announcing Watters’ new schedule, CEO Suzanne Scott said: “The unique perspectives of Laura Ingraham, Jesse Watters, Sean Hannity and Greg Gutfeld will ensure our viewers have access to unrivaled coverage of our best team for years to come. ”