The lineup of anchors and personalities at Fox News has gone through some major changes over the past couple of years, and many of those changes have involved controversy. Longtime analyst Bob Beckel was a key contributor on The Five since its debut as an ongoing series in 2011, but he got the boot from Fox News in 2015. Now, Fox News is bringing him back.
Bob Beckel makes his official return to The Five as a co-host Monday, January 16. He'll join Eric Bolling, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Greg Gutfield, and Dana Perino for nightly debates of the latest in news. Deadline reports that Beckel will take back a slot on The Five that has been occupied more or less regularly by pundit Juan Williams ever since Beckel left the series and network in 2015. Beckel spent much of his time since leaving The Five over on rival network CNN weighing in on the presidential election.
While pundits have been known to jump from network to network when it comes to cable news, the announcement that Bob Beckel will be back on Fox News will likely come as a surprise to any who remember the circumstances of his official departure in June 2015. Fox News executive vice president of programming Bill Shine released a statement at the time that was scathing in its dismissal of Beckel. Shine claimed that Beckel took advantage of their "generosity, empathy, and good will" and said that Fox News couldn't "hold The Five hostage" to Beckel's personal issues. All things considered, the split felt like Fox News shoved Beckel across a bridge and then torched it behind him.
Fox News executive chairman Rupert Murdoch is singing a much more diplomatic tune this time around, saying that the Fox News team was "happy to welcome him back." Given the fact that Fox News has recently lost popular news personalities like Greta Van Susteren and Megyn Kelly to other networks, it's possible that the channel wanted a familiar face back for viewers who might be missing days gone by.
The Five was rocked by another controversy over the past couple of years on top of Bob Beckel's ugly departure. Former The Five co-host Andrea Tantaros alleged that she was the target of sexual harassment courtesy of then-Fox president Roger Ailes, and the conflict wasn't exactly quiet. In fact, Fox News got a lot of bad press thanks to the allegations from Tantaros and other employees about Ailes' misdeeds. Ailes resigned from Fox News over the summer, and the network has been making changes in the aftermath.
Controversies aside, 2016 was a huge year of Fox News in the ratings. The network undoubtedly wants to start 2017 as strongly as it started 2016. It should be interesting to see if Bob Beckel's return to The Five has an impact on viewership in the coming weeks.
You can catch Bob Beckel back in action on The Five on weekdays at 5 p.m. ET on Fox News. Take a look at our midseason TV premiere schedule to see what else you can watch on the small screen in the near future.