© Getty Images
Greta Van Susteren is likable, refreshingly candid on social media and respected by most folks in the industry. She also just engaged in the biggest miscalculation of her career.
In leaving Fox News after attempting to renegotiate her contract by using an out-clause created with the resignation of former Fox News CEO and Chairman Roger Ailes, Van Susteren, 62, is about to discover that no one host in cable news had it remotely as good as she did.
Simple: By being wedged in between the third highest rated program on cable news, "Special Report with Bret Baier," and the perennial top-rated show on cable news, "The O'Reilly Factor," it pretty much can't get any better than owning such a coveted time slot that sits between the two.
Van Susteren, for her part, finished with the sixth highest rated show on the network. Not bad, but not great when considering every other program on from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. ranked higher. Add it all up, and Greta certainly was not in a position that created any kind of real leverage over the powers that be at Fox News.
So here's what happens now: Brit Hume — formerly kind of a big deal at ABC before coming to Fox in 1996 and the former anchor of the aforementioned "Special Report" — takes over Greta's time slot for the next two months. The veteran is the perfect choice that shows the value of a deep bench and one that will make the transition virtually seamless.
And here's something you can take to the bank: Hume will only gain viewers, not lose any. At 73, he still has his fastball and is a far superior interviewer to Van Susteren while bringing instant gravitas.
Fox News co-presidents Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy in a joint statement today called Hume “one of the best political analysts in the industry” and “the ideal choice to host a nightly political program while the most dynamic and captivating election in recent history unfolds.”
Hume will host "On the Record" through Election Day and says he doesn't have any interest in staying permanently. Shannon Bream and Kimberly Guilfoyle are the likely front-runners for the job come Nov. 9.
As for Greta, she will now undoubtedly sit down with her former network in CNN and probably MSNBC as well. But low-rated HLN — going through a reboot by adding CNNers like Ashleigh Banfield and Michaela Pereira — will likely be Van Susteren's landing place.
But will she ever have the luxury of that kind of time slot between two of the top three programs on cable news? The last is a rhetorical question. One of Greta's old 7:00 p.m. competitors was "Hardball."
She decided to play it here with Fox and had her bluff called. Now she's a free agent. And it's an unfortunate miscalculation in not knowing how good she had it before going down this road.
This report was updated at 7:59 a.m.