It's hard to believe but CNN may actually have more and better GN's on more often during the weekday schedule than Fox News. When you look at it now, Fox's schedule is pretty weak. They've banished Alisyn Camerota to the weekends, leaving (or rather dumping on) us three hours of Gretchen Carlson. Ugh. Then it's two hours of Megyn Kelly which is great. But after that, it's all downhill. Two hours of Jane Skinner behind a giganto desk is bad enough, but even when she's out and a better looking and dressing substitute is in, we still don't see anything. After that, it's two hours of Martha MacCallum for the Live Desk. They do some good shots but overall the format of the show is unnecessarily busy and cramped as if the more video windows and crap they cram on the screen the more it makes it look like they are on top of the news. Gimme a break. Martha has occasional flashes of brilliance but has never been a consistent home run hitter. After that, that's it. Nothing. The America's Election Headquarters show at 5 has Heather Nauert, but she's hidden behind a desk.
On the other hand, look at CNN's New York based shows. You have Kiran Chetry doing 3 hours of American Morning. Kiran has really hit her stride on AM and is looking comfortable, poised and great. Then at 12 you have Issue #1 which was already doing well with Gerri Willis, an underrated beauty for several years and the nice new addition of Poppy Harlow. Now you have Christine Romans back from maternity leave and looking great and that show is really timely from a content perspective and the talent is hard to beat. Gerri looks to actually have lost out a bit as Ali Velshi I believe is the real co-host. When Christine first came back, Gerri disappeared and I was a bit worried that Gerri was sent back to Atlanta. Now it looks like they are kind of doing a bit of a time sharing deal on the show. Ali is either on vacation or on assignment but I hope when he is back on that Gerri can find a place somewhere in New York on high-def where she belongs. I think Ali is being used as a campaign guy as well so it's possible that we will see less in the studio and that is only for Gerri. Then in the evening you have Lou Dobbs with Kitty Pilgrim. Now, OK, Kitty's no winner in the facial department but she brings the legs all the time. I've never seen her wear pants. Carrie Lee has also been on the show as well but not very recently and she has been impressive. After that you have Campbell Brown doing her show and I've always liked her a lot even though some people think she is too skinny and looks like a witch. Eh, whatever, she's tall, thin got long legs and can look very appealing so I'm happy. Really what more can you ask for? So really, looking at the weekdays, CNN is kicking Fox's butt. Now I wonder why this has happened. Fox seems to be going away from it's bread and butter that has been so successful for the past ten years. I think their constant schedule tweaking has not proven to be a good idea and the 2 hour time slots they are employing I think gets stale. They need to go back to one hour slots and rotate more people in and out to keep things fresh. I don't see the need for two hours of Jane, and two hours of the Live Desk. I just don't. I don't understand why Fox has to make each of the shows different with a different name and set. None of the other networks do that, and frankly who cares? Most people who watch cable news networks tune in and out during the day and expect to get the same kind of look and feel and coverage each time they tune in. I don't think anyone really says "Wow I really love the Live Desk format or the America's Newsroom and I really have to watch it." Whenever there's breaking news they always end up covering the story the same way, so what's the point?
You can tell Fox has a problem when their best GN's are mostly on the weekend. You have Alisyn doing Fox & Friends. You have Jamie Colby and Julie Banderas doing the news and Julie doing the Fox Report. Ainsley Earhardt kisses up to Hannity on his show but is otherwise sorely underused. There's a problem here, too many of these GN's are on the weekend when they should be on during the week. When either Jamie or Julie sub in for Martha it brings a spark to the show that isn't there normally. I have no problems with Ainsley doing F&F Weekend and it's a shame that Courtney Friel is now buried for some reason. She may be on during Jane's stint, as she was before, but I wouldn't know as I don't watch it and she was only ever window dressing anyway. They really aren't utilizing their talent to the best they can and I think it is clearly hurting them when I, a staunch FNC supporter, think that CNN is kicking their butts. I think they've put more time and effort into building up the Business Network, which is great because they have the best GN's for sure, but it's been to the detriment of the News Channel. As they head into the general election season, I see even less time and effort being put into the daytime studio stuff as most of the emphasis is on the coverage out on the trail and the evening re-hash and debate shows.
Fox has also I think really shot themselves in the foot by losing Laurie Dhue and also diminishing the roles of some of their, uh, more "mature" GN's like ED Hill, Brigitte Quinn and Page Hopkins. It's funny but a year ago I would have said that I thought FNC had too many GN's. Now it seems like they have too few, or at least too few that they are willing to use. Their insistence on the 40-and-done policy hurts them because they have no bench and no experience if they do that. Now again there may be individual reasons with all those ladies as to why they are not on screen a lot anymore, but I can't help but think that Fox needs to re-evaluate their notion of GN's reaching a certain sell-by date and then getting rid of them.