Fox wants to be part of your balanced breakfast.
The network has announced plans to broadcast a live, hourlong morning show starting in January, pitting the program against a.m. heavyweights Live with Regis and Kelly and the final hour of Today.
The as-yet unnamed show will forgo a hard news bent in lieu of primarily entertainment and lifestyle segments, though when big news breaks, the network says the focus of the show may shift.
Mike Jerrick and Juliet Huddy, the cohosts of Fox News Channel's afternoon offering DaySide, will continue their onscreen partnership on the network show. While the new morning show won't begin airing until early 2007, the duo will bow out of their current gigs this fall.
Fox likely has high hopes for Jerrick and Huddy, who both have news backgrounds and separately logged time at Fox and Friends--though DaySide's recent ratings performance might cause some to worry. Between March and June of this year, the program was FNC's second-lowest rated weekday program.
Still, Fox says the time is right to jump back into the morning show game.
"We think with Katie [Couric] going out of the Today show, Charlie [Gibson] going out of Good Morning America--Regis is great, but how many years is he going to do that--there is going to be some transition going on," Dennis Swanson, president of operations for Fox Television Stations, told the New York Daily News.
"There are hundreds of millions of viewers out there," he said. "We're going after all of them."
The show, which will broadcast from New York, is slated to air on 35 of the network-owned affiliates across the country when it premieres in January, with the network choosing not to syndicate the program--at least not at first.
"We think the economics for doing this show are right," Swanson told the New York Times. "We've got plenty of experience in that regard. We wouldn't enter into this project unless we thought there was a profit potential to it."
The new show won't be Fox's first attempt at putting forth a rival to the big morning shows.
In August 1996, the network launched the short-lived Fox After Breakfast, set in a faux Manhattan apartment and hosted by Dancing with the Stars emcee Tom Bergeron and later Vicki Lawrence. The show went off the air in August 1997 and relaunched as The Vicki Lawrence Show.
But Fox won't be the only newcomer to morning television.
Earlier this month, BBC America launched World News Today, an hourlong morning newscast designed to target American viewers with stories emphasizing international affairs. Think of it as the All-Bran to Fox's Pop Tarts.