Known Commodity Jesse Watters Becomes Permanent Host of Fox News' 'Primetime'

Screenshot via TPUSA/YouTube

Congratulations to Jesse Watters on his permanent Primetime hosting gig. When Fox News’ Primetime premiered on January 18, 2021, it offered a lead-in to the opinion segment of Fox News, with a hybrid of news with different perspectives. The rotating host format gave opportunity for some of the Fox contributors, analysts, and co-hosts of weekend and early morning shows to add their own spin and perspective to the show.

I actually enjoyed the rotating format, because one of the problems with all cable formats is the sea of the same faces and opinions. Some faces you like, others can’t be gone soon enough (looking at you, Geraldo). While you may get snippets of a contributor or co-hosts’ analysis on whatever show they may appear on that day, the hour-long format gave a fuller picture of their take on news and events, as well as an opportunity for them to draw in different voices that supported their perspective, and to offer more riveting back-and-forth with their chosen contributors.

The rotating format had its hits and misses. Rachel Campos Duffy, while sweet, had little gravitas or acumen for that hour. Lawrence Jones, on the other hand, was more than ready for Primetime, with not only fresh perspective, but fresh commentators who helped to expand the focus and add weight to Jones’ analysis and commentary.

Tammy Bruce, a longtime Fox contributor, is always a stand out in any time slot. She used to be a California native daughter, and I’m old enough to remember listening to her insights on local KABC Radio back in the day. Bruce is a known commodity who has established her audience and career over the decades, but she rarely, if ever, sounds one-note or hackneyed in her commentary or analysis. Bruce manages to stay prescient, fresh, and is never one-note.

While both Lawrence Jones and Tammy Bruce have Fox Nation shows that allow them to be a little more hard-hitting and out-the-box, their fresh perspectives and willingness to bring on new voices makes them the breath of fresh air that cable news, and especially Fox News, needs. Hopefully they both will find their way to a regular primetime slot at some point.

But for now, it’s Watters World! After the Fox News Primetime format showed its prowess and audience acceptance (read: ratings boon), the powers that be at Fox News decided to land on one host, and Jesse Watters was the chosen one:

Jesse Watters has been named host of FOX News Channel’s (FNC) 7 PM/ET hour, announced Suzanne Scott, CEO of FOX News Media. The one-hour program, entitled Jesse Watters Primetime, will launch on January 24th. Mr. Watters will remain a co-host of The Five, which is among the highest rated shows in cable news and will relinquish his weekend show Watters’ World. A new 8 PM/ET Saturday night program will be announced at a later date. 

In making the announcement, Ms. Scott said, “Jesse’s versatility and hosting acumen has grown exponentially over the last five years, and he has developed a deep connection to the audience through two hit shows The Five and Watters’ World. We look forward to watching him expand his connection even further through this new solo weeknight hour.”

Mr. Watters added, “I’m thrilled to take on this new challenge and am grateful for the opportunity.” 

While Watters would not have been my first choice, he has certainly paid his dues. Watters started out in 2002 as a production assistant, a year later he was a roving correspondent with The O’Reilly Factor, with his Watters’ World segment. After 14 years, in 2017, he parlayed this into his own weekend show of the same name, and that same year he became one of the hosts of the already established ratings grabber, The Five.

Besides his weekend and The Five duties, Watters has been the fill-in host for Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity further sharpening his hosting skills, and his audience base.

So, I give it to Watters, he has done the work. While I find other hosts much more interesting, I can see why the Fox News brass probably landed on him as the choice. Watters maintains an established opinion-based commodity that Fox News does best: Right-wing red meat and drumbeat messaging. Fox News lost a huge market share after the 2020 Elections, many of them Trump supporters. Watters has been consistent in his defense of Trump and commitment to the America First agenda, so it’s a cementing of this segment of the base that still bothers to watch, and the potential to draw back in the portion of that segment that disappeared to other outlets.

With the upcoming midterms and the potential for another Trump presidential run, we’ll see how well that works out for them.