Beckel, who offered a liberal counterpoint on the network’s late-afternoon panel show “The Five,” will return as a co-host of the 5 p.m. program, which he left in June of 2015. “Bob was missed by many fans of ‘The Five’ and we’re happy to welcome him back to the show,” said Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of Fox News Channel and its corporate parent, 21st Century Fox, in a prepared statement.
Beckel, who in the past served as a political consultant as well as a campaign manager for Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale, was one of the original co-hosts of the program. He left in 2015 while recuperating from back surgery in a split that was seen as less an amicable. “We tried to work with Bob for months, but we couldn’t hold The Five hostage to one man’s personal issues,” said Bill Shine, who was then the network’s executive vice president of programming,in a statement. “He took tremendous advantage of our generosity, empathy and goodwill and we simply came to the end of the road with him.” Shine is now co-president of the network, along with Jack Abernethy.
Beckel’s re-hire continues to put a spotlight on Rupert Murdoch’s influence at the cable-news outlet, which had been run for years by Roger Ailes. Murdoch was also said to be instrumental in the move of conservative journalist Tucker Carlson to a one-hour program. Carlson’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” launched in November on Fox News and has since been moved to the network’s 9 p.m. slot – a berth previously occupied by Megyn Kelly.
“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to go home again and join my television family around the table of ‘The Five’,” said Beckel, in a prepared statement. “I have no doubt it will be a vigorous yet entertaining debate.”
“The Five” has been the most-watched cable-news program in its timeslot for 66 consecutive months, according to data from Nielsen. During the fourth quarter of 2016, “The Five” averaged 2.7 million viewers, beating CNN and MSNBC combined, while attracting 462,000 viewers between 25 and 54, the demographic most coveted by advertisers in news programming.
After he left “The Five,” Beckel served as a contributor for a time at rival CNN.
|© Noam Galai/Getty Images Bob Beckel attends FOX News' 'The Five' at FOX Studios on February 26, 2014 in New York City.|
Bob Beckel Returned, to Bash Trump On Fox News
In a semi-surprise, that big ol’ growly, liberal bear in suspenders, Bob Beckel, reclaimed his chair on Monday’s edition of The Five. Beckel, who’d been dumped by Fox News in 2015 (and underwent, as he said on Monday, three back operations), is a sleeker grumpy ol’ bear now, having dropped 35 pounds. But he was still ready to be ornery, complaining about “how little [Donald] Trump knows about anything” and measuring “how much Trump is disliked” throughout America.
The other four of The Five — Eric Bolling, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Greg Gutfeld and Dana Perino — seemed genuinely pleased to see Beckel, whose seat had been filled most recently by Juan Williams. (Williams, a Fox statement says, will continue to appear across the network, including occasional visits to The Five.) There was a lot of reminiscing about Beckel, complete with a clip-reel of Beckel’s various stunts on the show. (Bob doing yoga qualified as a stunt.) If the hour got off to a rocky start — I’m not sure how much of a sign of assured support it is to be played onto the air by the Bee Gees singing “Stayin’ Alive” — Beckel settled in nicely soon enough.
But so much time was spent welcoming Beckel back to the fold, The Five barely had time to hurl insults at Congressman John Lewis — which, on this Martin Luther King Day, Fox News had been doing all day. The channel’s wedge into traducing the reputation of Lewis, an authentic American hero, is to have many of its anchor bobble-heads say that Lewis has “gone too far”: Guilfoyle’s version of this was to say of Lewis, “This guy attacked our democratic principles.” Calling Lewis “this guy” was a typical conflation of ignorance and insult, and obviously a key principle of democracy is that we can feel free to criticize anyone in — or in Trump’s case, about to ascend to — power.
Beckel closed out the show by looking into the camera and addressing the President-elect: “I’m gonna be after you,” he said. “You know the old saying, you can run but you can’t hide.” As a threat, it carried less weight than the number of pounds Bob has lost. I preferred an earlier comment he’d made, during a segment on how few celebrities are planning to serenade the new President on Friday. “Can’t Ethel Merman do it?” asked Beckel. The great thing was, I’m not sure if he thought she was still around to do so, or was suggesting that we summon her back from the dead.
Bob Beckel returns to 'The Five'
Bob Beckel is returning to co-host FOX News’ popular roundtable discussion show “The Five.”
Beginning tonight at 5 p.m., Beckel will reunite with co-hosts Eric Bolling, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Greg Gutfeld and Dana Perino.
Current co-host Juan Williams will remain a contributor across all programs and continue to appear on "The Five."
“Bob was missed by many fans of 'The Five' and we’re happy to welcome him back to the show,” said Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox and Executive Chairman of FOX News.
Beckel says he’s “thrilled” to be back.
“I have no doubt it will be a vigorous yet entertaining debate,” he said, as Beckel's co-hosts took to Twitter to welcome back their old sparring partner.
“The Five” has been one of the most watched programs on cable television since its inception in 2011, claiming the number one spot in cable news during its 5 p.m. ET timeslot for 66 consecutive months.
Beckel first joined FOX News in 2000 as a contributor providing political analysis. He later rejoined the network in 2011 as one of the originating co-hosts of "The Five" until 2015 and then briefly joined CNN as a commentator. He was also a columnist for USA Today.