My Pick For The Next Fox News Breakout Star

eric-bolling-photo Over the past few months, Fox News has witnessed unprecedented movement in its on-air ranks. Tucker Carlson took the ball and ran (with his program outdrawing his predecessors), while Greta Van Susteren — and later Megyn Kelly — found greener pastures elsewhere (albeit for very different reasons). In the Roger Ailes era, major changes at the network were rare, leaving little real chance for movement. So, with this newfound opportunity gold rush at (or from) Fox, who is best poised to make the next meteoric rise? My cable news Ouija board is spelling out Eric Bolling. (Insert eye roll here.) Yes, the conservative pundit has been toiling in only somewhat prominent spots on the Fox farm for a long time, but Bolling’s extensive — and often controversial — track record put him in the perfect spot to become the new Fox News darling. Back in 2006, CNBC was first cable news stomping ground. It was there that the Chicago native helped develop the still-running Fast Money, having spent many years as a commodities trader on the New York Mercantile Exchange. He didn’t stay with the network long, though, as the next year saw him jump to the Fox Business Network as a financial analyst. In a particularly inspired/divisive move, Bolling would eventually co-host Happy Hour, a rarely seen FBN show running in the same time slot as Fast Money. The Fox News mainstay then went on to become one of the regular panelists on The Five, as well as to headline the weekend program Cashin’ In, both of which drew comparatively high ratings. When not juggling those two gigs, Bolling would frequently show up as a guest-host on one of the top shows in cable news: The O’Reilly Factor. Hell, he even beat O’Reilly when he hosted Hannity. And part of that ratings magnetism stems from a seeming willingness to make outrageous comments (aka, his fair share of gaffes). In 2014, during a segment on the first female pilot for the United Arab Emirates — who also led the UAE’s effort in an airstrike on Syria — Bolling commented, “Would that be considered boobs on the ground?” After a blizzard of criticism for his comment, Bolling would go on to apologize: “I made a joke and when I got home, I got the look. I said sorry to my wife, and I apologize to you all, and want to make that very clear.” Most recently, Bolling has been regularly accused of sounding like a mouthpiece for Donald Trump. Bolling has a close and personal relationship with the Leader of the Free World — they’ve known one another for well over a decade. The Fox host’s name, at one point, was even floated for a spot in the Trump’s cabinet. You may remember, also, that Bolling was one of only a handful of media figures who stated early on that Trump could win the election. In the months after Trump announced his candidacy, Bolling’s Five co-hosts were constantly mocking him over his defense of Trump. On Election Night, however, it was Bolling who had the last laugh. Bolling hasn’t just limited himself to television, either. Last year, the conservative pundit’s first book, titled Wake Up America, became a New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestseller. Sales charts weren’t the only measure of Bolling’s success as an author — Donald Trump, himself, even provided Bolling a quote for the back cover. (Bolling’s next literary foray, The Swamp, is due out this summer.) And did I mention the man knows how to start a Twitter trend? During broadcasts of Cashin’ In if you took to the microblogging platform you would more than likely see that #CashinIn was trending. In the same vein, he seems to have been the driving force behind the trending hashtag #WakeUpAmerica. But how could all this translate into better positioning on Fox for Bolling? At 8pm, we have The O’Reilly Factor. Given that Bill O’Reilly has been with Fox News since its inception and still brings in strong ratings, it’s a fairly logical assumption that he won’t be going anywhere for a while. At 9pm Tucker Carlson Tonight has seen a huge surge in ratings so it’s safe to say that he isn’t going anywhere either. Next up at 10pm we have Hannity, who is clearly staying put as well. That leaves the 7pm and 11pm hours. Fox has thus far claimed that Martha MacCallum is only there for the “first 100 days” of Trump’s administration. But you have to believe they need a woman in that slot in the wake of Kelly’s departure. And Fox has never had a regular live 11pm program, instead saving money by replaying, quite successfully, O’Reilly repeats. Then again, neither had MSNBC. Now that they have The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, and CNN has the second hour of CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, the landscape has changed. I would be remiss not to admit that, personally, I do not agree with most all of Eric Bolling’s viewpoints. My personal opinions of him and his positions aside, the fact of the matter is that the man is good at his job. This has been proven over and over again by the ratings he brings in. In the era of Trump, I have got to believe that Fox News execs searching for numbers will be looking long and hard at the stouthearted, Trump-supporting anchor who seems completely unconcerned with how the rest of the media perceive him. All traits that could make for another huge Fox News success. [image via screengrab] —— Adam: Twitter.

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