Ingraham to debut Fox News show Monday night

Ingraham to debut Fox News show Monday night
© Fox News

Fox News host Laura IngrahamLaura Anne IngrahamTrump: 'Top shows' on Fox News, cable are 'Fair (or great)' to me Trump criticizes Fox, which 'isn't working for us anymore' NYT's Stephens roasted for response to bedbug crack: 'Dish it out but can't take it' MORE says she hopes to pull “the curtain back on some of the generic headlines of the day” when her new prime-time program premieres Monday night at 10 p.m.

“People at the end of the night want a safe harbor to dock into,” Ingraham told The Hill in a phone interview. “I think people don’t want conflict for an hour at the end of the day.”

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“The Ingraham Angle” is getting a key slot and represents the final piece in Fox’s remake of its prime-time lineup following a tumultuous 13 months. The network has seen the departures of Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Susteren over that period, leaving Sean Hannity as the only holdover from the prime time of the Roger Ailes era.

Ingraham, a former speechwriter for President Reagan and a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, will come on after Hannity’s show, which was moved to 9 p.m. in September to take on MSNBC’s top-rated program "The Rachel Maddow Show," which also was the most-watched in cable news overall in the third quarter of this year. Hannity has been topping Maddow on most weeks since making the move to 9 p.m., however.

Regular Fox watchers are accustomed to seeing Ingraham, who has guested on a variety of programs, from “Fox & Friends” to "Special Report" to “Hannity.” Just like Hannity, she is a staunch supporter of President Trump and speaks to him on occasion.

When asked how she can avoid her program sounding like an echo of Hannity's, Ingraham, who will continue her three-hour syndicated radio program, said her show “will not be the same show that you see at 9 o’clock.”

“Our radio shows are very different,” she said. "The topics we hit on radio, and the way I approach the topics, are informed by my own experience and my own legal background and my own cultural understanding."

“Sean comes from his Long Island background and I come from this middle-class area in Connecticut. I worked for President Reagan and Justice Thomas and did all these interesting things. And Sean has done a hell of a lot in his own career in the media,” she said.

“We come at things from a similar political perspective, but it all boils down to the topics we decide to cover and the way we decide to cover them,” she added. “I’m a mother and a cancer survivor. I’m dealing with a lot of the balancing issues that women deal with on a daily basis. That informs my daily roundup of what we’re going to hit on the show." 

Ingraham also said she will not be shy about criticizing Trump, who has conducted 18 interviews with Fox News and Fox Business since taking office and tweeted praise for a number of the network’s hosts.

“I think the president respects people who hold the powerful accountable,” Ingraham says. “He respects journalists who hold the powerful in both parties accountable.”

“I don’t think he’s looking for special treatment. He’s not looking for a free pass,” she said. "I’ve known him for 14 years. And that’s good. If I talk to him ... he’s fine with a back-and-forth.”

She also said Trump is different from the last GOP president in terms of how the White House deals with the media.

“He’s always willing to listen. Which I think is a great change,” she said. “In my view, a welcomed change, I should say, from what I found in the [George W.] Bush administration where if you criticized President Bush, you were like persona non-grata.”

Ingraham noted that she took on Bush over his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, and over his immigration policies. 

“I was basically shunned after that. That’s not the case with this president,” she said.

Ingraham has three adopted children, and the rigors of her radio career make the 10 p.m. television schedule helpful.

“It’s a scheduling necessity for me to ensure that, number one, I’m with my children as much as possible,” she said. “In the mornings, it's taking them to school and picking them up from school and doing some homework, having dinner and then going to work."

“So the good thing about the 10 o'clock show is that I can, for the most part, especially after we get it rolling, I can almost put them to bed [before leaving for work]. But definitely have dinner. So we’ll get into the rhythm but it’s going to take a while, for sure.”

Asked if hosting a Fox News program is the culmination of long-range planning, Ingraham says the opportunity was completely unexpected.

“No, I didn’t expect to be hosting a show on Fox. It literally didn’t even enter my mind,” she says, adding, “I always think, you work hard for something, but God presents opportunities, and hard work can help you get closer to those opportunities. I feel really privileged and I feel really blessed right now. And I just want to do a good job.”