Just as broadcast networks are dealing with lots of moving parts as we go from TV finale season to the summer schedule, similar change-ups are happening over at Fox News. Just days after handling the hosting switcheroo over on Fox & Friends, The Five's longtime co-host Juan Williams announced he was stepping down from the daily discussion series going forward. But for anyone worried, he confirmed that he is not vacating the highly viewed network altogether as others have before.
While Juan Williams' exit may seem like quite the sudden departure, there's some justification for it. The Five, like many unscripted talk shows in the past year and change, has largely been a remote production throughout the pandemic. However, the series will permanently revert back to studio tapings in the network's New York headquarters on Tuesday, June 1, with Williams choosing to stay closer to home in Washington D.C. Here's how the host worded things when announcing his plans to viewers:
This is my last day hosting The Five. COVID taught me a lot of lessons. As the show goes back to the New York studio, I will be staying in D.C. I will be working for Fox out of Washington. My work as a Fox News political analyst will continue.
As Fox News viewers likely remember, Juan Williams tested positive for COVID-19 back in December, which caused The Five to revert back to remote tapings after having temporarily returned to the studio that fall. It appears as if his experiences with COVID have tamped down his desire to return to daily commuting from D.C. to NYC.
As one of the remaining liberal-leaning voices on Fox News, Juan Williams has been with the company going all the way back to 1997. Williams' duties on The Five started up in 2011, and he served as a recurring co-host for the next few years before taking on a permanent hosting gig in 2014. Of course, he has also appeared on just about every other original series that Fox News has produced in the last two decades, so it's not like he'll have slim pickings for where to share his views going forward.
Juan Williams' exit is being handled in mostly amicable terms, with The Five's boss Megan Albano also releasing a statement that pointed to Williams' decision to stay in D.C. as the deciding factor. However, there are some murmurs that some behind-the-scenes pressure is the true reason. According to Daily Beast, fellow The Five vet and late night host Greg Gutfeld has been a major proponent of moving the show back to the studio, and he allegedly felt that Williams was the main reason why episodes remained remote in recent months. The outlet's sources claim that run-ins between Gutfeld and Williams played a part in the latter's departure, though those claims were denied by a network spokesperson.
In the aftermath of Juan Williams' exit, Fox News will bring in a revolving door of liberal cohosts to fill the empty chair as the show gets back to in-studio tapings, and a permanent co-host replacement will be sought out and announced at a later date.
The Five airs every day on Fox News at 5:00 p.m. ET.