Fox News announced on Wednesday that the popular “Fox & Friends” franchise would be expanding to include the pre-dawn audience tuning in at 4:00 a.m. eastern. Heather Childers, who currently hosts “Fox & Friends First” from 5:00 to 6:00 a.m. will host the expanded program from 4:00 to 5:00 while the 5:00 to 6:00 time-slot will be anchored by Jillian Mele and Rob Schmitt.
“As Fox & Friends continues to mark its most-watched year in network history, we are thrilled to give our viewers more of the morning franchise they love.” Suzanne Scott, president of programming for Fox News Channel said in a press release.
The expanded coverage is a bid for ultra early risers and a direct challenge to CNN, whose own program “Early Start” begins at the same time.
A spokesperson for CNN declined to comment on the new competition.
As a favorite of President Donald Trump, Fox & Friends has achieved something of cult status among early risers and on social media. Trump has been known to tweet out snap reactions to stories presented on the program and even retweet the Fox & Friends Twitter account to his more than 40 million followers. Despite the prominence, the show has faced controversy over its commentary. Only yesterday, co-host Brian Kilmeade was forced to disavow remarks made by a guest who suggested that CNN was partly responsible for the mass shooting in Las Vegas over the weekend.