FOX News Channel (FNC) personality Gretchen Carlson moved from the morning show FOX & Friends to headline her own afternoon program, The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson, a year ago today. According to Nielsen Media Research, the program is No. 1 in cable news in its timeslot (weekdays at 2pm ET). The Real Story will air its one-year anniversary episode Sept. 30 on FNC.
We caught up with Carlson to talk via email about what the past year has been like, what’s ahead, and how thrilled she has been with her show, and the fact that it allows her some important time with her children (and a bit more sleep).
How has the transition from a morning show to an afternoon show been for you over the past year? How has it impacted you professionally and personally?
Gretchen Carlson: I can’t believe it’s already been a year! The transition has been smooth and wonderful. While I loved doing Fox and Friends for almost a decade, I no longer have to set three alarms for the middle of the night and I am home in the morning with my kids which is really important to them. I also couldn’t say no to the amazing opportunity to host my own show. Professionally it’s been a great step. Ironically, it’s actually more work now than a three hour morning show because I am the only host. I have a great team of producers and crew and we are constantly trying new things to make The Real Story fresh and creative. As a side note, I’ve finally become acquainted with my couch in the family room to watch TV after 9pm! (My old bedtime)
What have been some of your favorite highlights/stories/interview “gets” on the show over the past year?
Shortly after we launched the new show on the International Day of the Girl, I decided to honor the inner self esteem of all women and did the last segment of my show without any make up on. It was a first for any woman host on cable news. I have always been a strong advocate of the importance of building self-esteem from the inside out – so I wanted to be a role model for that too. I’m also very interactive with my viewers on social media and read their comments at the end of each show. (Even the mean ones!) And I give “My Take” on at least one hot topic a day … All to bring out the real story of the issues. We have also been very focused on stories about veterans with the VA scandal and I’ve taken a special interest in sharing those stories.
Who/what will you feature on your anniversary program?
For the anniversary program we will feature some of our original guests as well as highlights from the first year of the show (as well as bloopers!) Well wishes from Fox colleagues and maybe a few surprises!
What guest would you love to have on your show whom you haven’t yet been able to get?
For me it’s not about getting celebrities or politicians all the time. Sometimes the best and the most “real” stories are from real people. So we will continue to find those kinds of stories while also focusing on the important news of the day.
What has fan reaction been to the show and your move from FOX & Friends?
Reaction has been really positive! Many viewers say they love that I have my own show and the ability to show a wide range of interviews; from hard news to lighter topics. I think viewers appreciate my dedication to really doing my research and asking the tough questions. And if they can’t catch me LIVE now during the day, many say they are DVR-ing my show to watch later at night which is great. I think some people miss me in the mornings. But that’s to be expected. I was there for a long time. Elisabeth [Hasselbeck] is doing a great job getting adjusted to the show. It’s not an easy show to do!
Are there any changes/new directions for your show in the next year?
At The Real Story we are evolving every day! I’m a big believer in always challenging myself – and I believe it’s important to always look for ways to make a good thing even better! We will be doing more in depth segments featuring “real people” across America, more behind the scenes, more segments outside when the weather cooperates, and we hope to take the show on the road as well.
The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson airs weekdays at 2pm ET on FOX News Channel (FNC).