Just over two years on the air, Fox News Channel’s The Five airs its 555th show tonight. It debuted July 11, 2011 as a replacement for Glenn Beck and was made a permanent part of the Fox News lineup in October 2011. The daily one-hour roundtable with rotating hosts has proven both a ratings winner and a controversy magnet for the cable news network — and we’re talking about the home of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity here. The Five has seen its ratings rise 50% rise since launch, and for the past four consecutive months it has eclipsed Hannity in viewership, making it the second most watched show on cable news after The O’Reilly Factor. With an average of 2 million viewers a night and 324,000 in the news demo, The Five also soundly wins its time slot against rivals CNN and MSNBC. Deadline spoke with some of the hosts of The Five about CBS anchor Scott Pelley’s slam of cable news, Jeff Zucker, Hollywood failings and Jimmy Kimmel’s viral video scam.
DEADLINE: Earlier this summer in an interview I did with Scott Pelley, the CBS anchor slammed cable news networks as getting “one small part of the viewership” and content to “be happy with that 200,000 viewers, 300,000 viewers that they have.” A lot of our commenters took him to town for so dramatically downplaying cable news’ audience. Ring true to you guys?
GREG GUTFELD: Yeah, first off, who is Scott Pelley? Now, does he work in media or soccer? Whatever, he’s entitled to his opinion and I totally support him. And he was a really good soccer player.
BOB BECKEL: I just thought it was a cheap shot. Why did he have to go out of his way to say that? That’s the thing that bothers me. For a guy that’s a reporter and the anchor of the CBS News to say 200,000 people, do your homework. Look at it and say, “Gee, The Five has over 2 million people!” Now, why does he have to make that gratuitous comment? The fact of the matter is, when Walter Cronkite led CBS, they had twice the audience they got now, probably more. No they’ve done a good job of getting it down to, what is it, 7 million now? And we have, on any given day, 2 million-plus. If you do our repeat it’s about 2.5 million, so we ain’t to far behind that boy and he’s got exposure of a 100% of the TVs in the country and we don’t. So let him keep talking like that, that’s fine. He’s trying hold onto that job and if he wants to hold onto the job, good for him. I don’t watch him.