Fox News' rising star Megyn Kelly debuted her new prime-time show, "The Kelly File," Monday in the network's biggest schedule shakeup in years, and one of her jobs is to attract younger viewers to the network.
"The Kelly File," which promises to be a fast-paced, razor-sharp recap of the news of the day, premiered in the 9 p.m. EST timeslot and kicked off with an interview with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
"What's it like to be the most-hated man in America?" Kelly challenged her guest, referencing a recent poll where the Republican congressman scored a less than favorable rating.
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But viewers won't find any opinion commentary on Kelly's new show.
"I'm a news anchor, I'm not an ideologue," Kelly told the Los Angeles Times.
"I don't want to be an opinion anchor… I'm not going to be the female Bill [O'Reilly]."
Despite generating $1.9 billion in revenue last year and this year drawing nearly three times more viewers than competitors MSNBC and CNN, Fox News is grappling with an age issue, according to the Times.
The median age of viewers is over 65 and the network has been consistently working to attract a younger audience.
That's where Kelly comes in. The 42-year-old former corporate litigator is known for her blunt interview style and to-the-point reporting, and execs are hoping she can draw in a younger demographic.
But some are concerned that Kelly might be too moderate for a prime-time Fox News program.
"This is the biggest prime-time shake-up ever at Fox News," Eric Boehlert, senior fellow for the liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America, told the Times. "But the question is: Will this shift change the political tone of Fox News? Megyn Kelly is obviously more pragmatic than Sean Hannity. Is she going to be the centrist prime-time host? Moderation is not what drives Fox programming."
The network's execs, however, are confident that Kelly will soon become the face of Fox.
"Megyn is the whole package," Bill Shine, Fox News executive vice president of programming, told the Times. "She is very strong and nice — and unpredictable. If people try to cross her or try to get some B.S. past her, she will call them out. It doesn't matter if they are on the left or on the right."
Here are the other Fox News schedule changes: Shepard Smith's 7 p.m. "Fox Report" has been replaced by "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren." It moved from 10 p.m., which shifted "Hannity" up to 10 p.m. "The O’Reilly Factor" stayed in its top-rated 8 p.m. home spot, leaving 9 p.m. for "The Kelly File."
Smith now hosts "Shepard Smith Reporting" at 3 p.m.
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