Sunday, August 11, 2013

Shepard Smith Is The Engine That'll Keep Fox News Going If He's Used Correctly

Interesting changes are coming to Fox News prime time for the first time in 10 years as Megyn Kelly is being moved from the 1-3pm timeslot to the 9pm slot replacing Hannity who will most likely move to 7pm as Bill O'Rielly's lead in with Greta surprisingly staying at 10pm.

The most interesting piece of the puzzle with these moves though is Shepard Smith. At a press briefing yesterday, Roger Ailes hinted at a new initiative with Shep which will change the flow of news in a different way. What does that mean?

My prediction is that Fox will turn his 3pm show from a potpourri of water cooler stories with 5 minutes to spare into an hour long newscast with rapid fire headlines (each story lasting less than a minute), more utilization of digital walls and less in depth looks into stories as well as less interviews. Basically a more digitized, midday Fox Report. Fox will also probably give Shep a 15 minute overtime show on to keep the flow going (similar to what they do with Fox and Friends online after show).

But if I ran Fox News, I would do something a little different. I would expand Shep's studio to include more digital boards and more movement so he's not restricted to a desk. I would also add on more in studio correspondents besides Jonathan Hunt and display tweets and FB statuses on the screen and aim at making the Fox Report at 3pm, the preeminent midday newscast for all the latest headlines.

I would expand the definition of news on the show to also include technology, business, sports, international stories, investigative journalism, interesting local stories which are covered by Fox affiliates etc. rather than just focusing most of the headlines on politics. The biggest thing for me would be to make the show multi platform and the cornerstone of Fox News' journalism operation.

I would make sure the telecast was simulcast on, Fox News Radio, Fox broadcast network or a multicast option or syndication, Sky News (its international counterpart) and on an app of its own on Apple TV. The show would also have a 24-7 feed with other anchors and Shep as the main face, which would run on Fox News' website which doesn't get much traction or audience compared to CNN or MSNBC. Basically this would be Fox giving Shep his own mini network which is online based within Fox similar to what Bill Simmons and Nate Silver do with ESPN. It would make him the face of Fox News digital, expanding their footprint and digital audience. His mini network would be a Huff Post Live-Fox Report hybrid; and it could even show a daily behind the scenes of editorial meetings and other things  to that nature which make the news happen.

It would be a fair and balanced futuristic, multi platform informative telecast which can't be found anywhere else until 6:30pm. A glorified, better looking one hour evening newscast with a relatable anchor could do damage even if its not in the evening.

The last factor I would add on would be to have Shep give a nightly fact check show at 11pm on his mini online network giving viewers the facts and myths of what guests from both sides of the aisle on Fox News prime time said. Or maybe you could have that kind of telecast happen in the duration of the 3 hours of programming with the online portion of fact checking streaming during commercial breaks.

BUT.......that's just me. Who knows what Roger Ailes is thinking. Might be even better than this.

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