The cable news wars appear headed for the mother of all battles, with conservative doyenne Laura Ingraham joining Fox News where she could duke it out with MSNBC ratings queen Rachel Maddow and Trump-bashing CNN star Chris Cuomo, if insider reports prove true.
We hear that Ingraham is close to signing an agreement for a prime-time show, possibily the all-important 9 p.m. hour where Maddow has reigned. A debut could come soon after Labor Day. In that scenario, she would take the slot currently held by "The Five," which is slated to move back to the 5 p.m. time block.
And just this week, reports revealed a new show for CNN's Cuomo called "Cuomo Prime Time" It would also air at 9 p.m..
But the insiders said that the final schedule is in flux, and that Fox may move ratings giant Sean Hannity from 10 p.m. to 9 p.m., and give Ingraham that open hour. Having Hannity as the lead-in would be a huge boost to her early debut. Tucker Carlson has the 8 p.m. hour.
An industry executive, however, warned that in the world of prime-time news scheduling and recruiting, a deal isn't done until it's done and inked.
Fox insiders said having Ingraham up against Maddow and Cuomo would be a coup.
One said that a "woman like Laura" is needed to take Maddow on.
Brent Baker, the vice president of the Media Research Center, told Secrets, it "makes sense to put a woman back in the slot vs. Maddow."
Reports about Ingraham joining Fox have circulated ever since internet giant Matt Drudge hinted at her arrival at the cable network. He posted the headline on his Drudge Report 15 day ago: "FALL PREVIEW: Laura Ingraham's prime time to shine! Developing…" At that time, according to Variety, she was in early talks with the cable network.
Ingraham is one of talk radio's most popular conservative voices. She is a supporter of President Trump, having appeared at the Republican National Convention and being the focus of reports she might be his White House press secretary.
But she isn't a mouthpiece, and often speaks out against White House moves she doesn't like.
Joining Fox would increase the impact of her voice. She also owns the popular and influential news site Lifezette.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org