Fox News Channel’s Shannon Bream is penning a very unique legacy — figuratively and literally. She not only recently became “Fox News Sunday”‘s first-ever female anchor, but she’s riding high off her third consecutive New York Times bestseller titled, “Love Stories of the Bible,” published by Fox News Books, where she is a founding author.
Bream joined Fox News in 2007 as a Washington D.C-based correspondent covering the Supreme Court. In addition to her role as Sunday anchor, Bream is a Chief Legal Correspondent for the network and host of “Livin’ the Bream,” a podcast on Fox News Radio where she shares inspirational stories, personal anecdotes and an insider’s perspective on actions and rulings from the high court.
“Let’s face it, I’m a legal nerd. My brain will probably always approach every story as an attorney,” Bream told TheWrap.
Though Bream first made a name for herself on the legal beat, it’s her series of faith-based books coupled with her cable news duties that have carved her out a unique space in the media landscape. Her debut title, “The Women of the Bible Speak: The Wisdom of 16 Women and Their Lessons for Today,” spent 15 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, five of which made it to No. 1. The second book in the franchise, “Mothers and Daughters of the Bible Speak,” which also rose to No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list, moved 200,000 copies within the first five weeks.
TheWrap talked to the anchor about the book series, her new role at Fox News Channel and the challenges of covering politics in 2023 versus a decade ago.
TheWrap: Congratulations on the success of your books. What do you think it is about your book series that especially resonates with readers and why?
Shannon Bream: I think these stories from the Bible are filled with such optimism and hope, the truth that God is present in the midst of our suffering. Readers told me they were very comforted by that during the pandemic. People often express how surprised they are that these stories involving family squabbles, double-crossing, identity theft, heartbreak and sabotage are actually in Scripture. When they see that God can work through all of our messes, it reminds them that He is forgiving and wants to connect with each of us.
Before you were promoted to “Fox News Sunday” anchor, did you have any trepidation about being the first woman ever to front the broadcast?
I didn’t, simply because I look around and see strong, smart female journalists everywhere. It’s because of the perseverance and guts of women like Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer that there was never anything I thought I couldn’t do in the media world.
What stories in particular as a journalist and anchor are you most passionate about?
Let’s face it, I’m a legal nerd. My brain will probably always approach every story as an attorney. It’s what I was trained to do. I’m fascinated by the Supreme Court and deeply grateful that I get to tell people what the Court’s sometimes very wonky decisions actually mean to their real lives.
Any plans for future books besides this series and if so what kind of book would you be interested in writing?
Since childhood, my favorite books have been fictional stories that allow you to disappear into a totally different world. I didn’t grow up with much materially, but I had a library card and that meant my imagination was always going to places across space and time. I’ve got a fiction story that I think God sort of dropped in my lap, but it’s not a genre I have any experience with so I’m working at it. There is plenty of room for improvement, and I want to do this story justice… eventually!
Any aspirations to moderate any of the GOP primary debates?
I have done this in the past, and it’s the most labor-intensive assignment I’ve ever tackled. You’ve got to know just about every vote, every position, every word each candidate has ever said on any topic. It’s great fun to do it as a team, sharing the load.
With cable news at a bit of a crossroads with finding new innovative ways to reach new audiences, do you have any ideas of your own that could draw in new viewers?
We try to think about topics and voices that younger viewers may not think have generally been represented on traditional Sunday morning shows. We try to weave in those issues and guests, and we’ve seen our younger audience grow. We’re also mindful of going to the social media platforms where people who haven’t engaged with Sunday political shows in the past may be hanging out in 2023.
Who or what made you want to become a broadcast journalist? Inspirations? Role models?
At the end of the day, I want to be known as someone who delivered my work with integrity. It’s tempting to chase ratings and headlines, but am I actually giving viewers what they need in order to make educated decisions about how they vote and what policies they want to support? I always look to my mentor, Brit Hume. He calls it like he sees it, and he’s deeply thoughtful in his analysis.
What is the biggest difference between covering politics in 2023 and covering politics, say, 10 years ago?
Social media. President Trump changed everything when he embraced Twitter as a way to get to potential voters without being filtered through traditional media outlets. It makes access to information/video/eyewitness accounts almost immediate. But – and it’s a big “but” – it calls on everyone consuming it to be merciless about fact-checking. The closer you can get to the key sourcing – whether that’s documents or people who were directly involved – the better. Instant access can be a gift, but it requires us all to be guarded skeptics.
Who would be your dream interview GET, living or dead?
I always say, Jesus. I am a person of deep faith, but like any human being, I have questions about things like suffering and justice and mercy.
The Fox News-Dominion lawsuit exposed a side of the channel’s business that called into question what viewers can actually believe is fact vs. fiction across the FNC’s spectrum. Do you think the Fox News show hosts have taken unfair hits to their credibility due to the fallout from the behavior of the Fox News Opinion hosts?
While I cannot comment about the Dominion case that was settled last month, I will say that my colleagues at Fox News are the best in the business whether their role is as a journalist to bring the latest in breaking news or as an opinion host to provide commentary on the news of the day. I am proud to work at a news organization where many viewpoints are represented and that comes through in our audience makeup – the most politically diverse audience in cable news.