Ainsley Earhardt said she is well-prepared for her debut on Monday as the new co-host of “Fox & Friends,” stepping in for the outgoing Elisabeth Hasselbeck on Fox News’ morning show.
“I can’t believe it’s happening and I can’t wait for Monday,” Earhardt told TheWrap.
Earhardt, who joins Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade on the show, was named Hasselbeck’s permanent replacement last week while she was still away on maternity leave. She and her husband had a healthy baby girl, Hayden Dubose Proctor, back in November.
Hasselbeck left the show in December after two years to dedicate more time to family; a rotating group of guest hosts have been filling in. We caught up with Earhardt to pick her brain about her new role, how she started in the business and even the inevitable “SNL” parody.
How will you differ from Elisabeth Hasselbeck?
Elisabeth and I are different people and she’s a wonderful person but I’m looking forward to being myself. Fox has always allowed us to be ourselves. They’ve never told us what we can say, what to say, what not to say. Roger [Ailes] hires us because he wants that. The viewer can tell if you’re not being genuine or honest. You can only be yourself and I think the viewer appreciates that and hopefully they like what they see.
Was it Roger Ailes who told you the job was yours?
It was so exciting, I found out when I was away on maternity leave. Technically I’m still on maternity leave but I’m so excited for this position and I’ve been preparing for it.
What aspect of hosting “Fox & Friends” are you most looking forward to?
I’m most looking forward to having a lot of fun with these guys. I’m friends with Brian and Steve and have been for a long time. Presenting the news every morning to America. Waking up America. I want to be first to get viewers information that they didn’t know before.
It must feel good to have a show of your own, after being all over the network for the past several years.
I think it’s a great American story. So many people around the country can relate to that. Hard work really does pay off. It’s not just me, I recognize that the viewers have gotten me here, too. I started in local news in South Carolina so viewers there supported me. We had a morning show that we put to No. 1 and then I moved to San Antonio, Texas, and we became the No. 1 morning show there, too. I really thank the viewers; I don’t take them all for granted. They’re the ones that got me to this point.
“Fox & Friends” get parodied on “Saturday Night Live” quite a bit. What are your thoughts on the inevitable “SNL” skit that will feature you.
Well, we kind of laugh about it because we all take it in fun. We realize that it’s “Saturday Night Live” and it doesn’t bother us at all. It’ll be great to see who plays my character.