UPDATED, 4:57 PM: When the January 6th Committee holds its first primetime hearing on Thursday, Fox News Channel will stay with its primetime lineup of Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. The proceedings will air on the Fox Business network instead.
The hearing starts at 8 PM ET on Thursday, with broadcast networks planning to pre-empt their regular scheduled programming to cover the proceedings.
Fox News’ Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum instead will anchor the coverage on Fox Business, joined by Shannon Bream for a two-hour reaction special starting at 11 PM ET. Fox News also is offering live streams without authentication and feeds to Fox broadcast affiliates of the coverage.
Carlson, Hannity and Ingraham all have attacked the committee investigation, and Carlson has advanced a conspiracy theory about its origins with his documentary Patriot Purge.
Fox News figures also have found themselves the topic of the committee’s work. The committee has released text messages from January 6, 2021, that Hannity and Ingraham sent to Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, urging him to get the president to take steps to quell the riot.
Fox News said that the primetime programs will cover the hearings “as news warrants.”
The network seldom pre-empts its primetime lineup, which has dominated the competition on rivals MSNBC and CNN. When President Joe Biden gave his first primetime address to the nation last year, on the Covid pandemic, the network put a “live Tucker Carlson” box to show their host’s facial movements. Fox Business, meanwhile, gets a fraction of the audience.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), a Republican member of the January 6th Committee, wrote on Twitter, “If you work for Fox News and want to maintain your credibility as a journalist, now is a good time to speak out, or quit. Enough is enough.”
PREVIOUSLY, 1:18 PM: ABC, CBS and NBC have each announced plans to cover and carry Thursday’s primetime hearing of the January 6th Committee, in which lawmakers are expected to reveal new information about the siege on the U.S. Capitol.
The hearing is viewed as a chance for the committee to garner the spotlight on its investigation, which have so far been largely conducted behind the scenes and via press release announcements and news reports on what it has found and who has testified. The fact that the broadcast networks will break into regular primetime programming is an indicator of the importance they are putting on the proceedings.
David Muir will anchor a special report for ABC News, Norah O’Donnell will anchor for CBS News broadcast and streaming and Lester Holt for NBC News and NBC News Now.
Cable news networks also are expected to carry the hearing.
Fox News has not announced its plans, but the hearing will take place at the same time that it airs two of its top rated shows, Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity, both of whom have attacked the committee investigation. Carlson produced a January 6th project Patriot Purge, which advanced a conspiracy theory about the attack on the Capitol.
Hannity is among the Fox News personalties whose names have come up during the committee’s probe into what happened.
In one of the committee’s public hearings in December, Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) read text messages that Laura Ingraham, Brian Kilmeade and Sean Hannity sent to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows as the attack unfolded. Hannity urged Meadows to try to get Trump to “make a statement, ask people to leave the Capitol.” Hannity and Ingraham then blasted the committee and attacked Cheney for the public release of the texts.
The committee’s next hearing after Thursday is scheduled for June 13. So far, NBC News says that its streaming channel NBC News Now will carry the hearing, with Hallie Jackson and Tom Llamas anchoring.