Atlanta native Harris Faulkner rising star at Fox News

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Harris Faulkner better Outnumbered screen shot

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Thursday, June 25, 2015

Atlanta native Harris Faulkner has hustled her way up the ranks on Fox News, now one of the key hosts on the year-old noon panel program “Outnumbered,” a successful mid-day addition for the network.

The show has a gimmick: four women panelists (three regulars and a rotating guest) and one dude. Thus, the name of the show. The initial premise was to help provide the female point of view on issues but it quickly turned into a talk show which happened to include women.

“That gender component was weird,” Faulkner said. “That was not real. It didn’t feel right a couple of shows in. We don’t have to do this. Our differences are organically going to come out. Not everything falls along gender lines. We just let the gender chips fall where they may.”

At the same time, the show expands Faulkner beyond her comfort zone of reporting and anchoring.

“It’s really different for me,” said Faulkner. “It allows me to use different muscles. I still do my Sunday night show [as anchor]. I keep my prime-time presence.”

She said Fox News chief Roger Ailes didn’t want “Outnumbered” to be “The Talk” or “The View.” “We have to be nimble enough to handle breaking news,” she said. “Our compass is the news.”

Faulkner is thrilled viewers are going along with the ride: “We’ve had the kind of first year journey you’d wish upon your best friend. We’ve seen the fruits of our labor. Everyone stayed true to themselves. We go out there and work for a company that believes in us. When that red light comes on, I deliver a product I’m proud of.”

And as this highlight reel below shows, they aren’t above having a little fun. (And the color coordination among the women is always impressive as well.)

The male guests (bestowed on Twitter with the cheeky hashtag #oneluckyguy) range from politicians to fellow Fox news folks to athletes. One of Faulkner’s most pleasant surprises has been former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann.

“His commentary and point of view is rich with perspective, with experience, with research,” she said. “He can move the conversation right along to sports and culture topics.”

She was also impressed with country artist and songwriter John Rich. “He’s great. He had his hat. The ladies went crazy on social media.”

And there was the famous Fox Business Network correspondent Charlie Gasparino bench pressing Faulkner, which impressed her to no end.

She said she can relate to the other two regulars on the panel Sandra Smith, who is also a Fox Business Network reporter, and political commentator Andrea Tantaros. “Sandra and I are both moms who have little ones,” she said. “Andrea and I have a lot in common in terms of things we like to do and she has a great sense of humor. We love music and beaches. As people, we connect on a level. We hang out as girls.”

Faulkner was born at Fort McPherson but left Atlanta at a young age.

“I still have a lot of love for those stomping grounds,” she said. “I still have cousins in Alpharetta Kendra and Karla. My mom’s middle sister Maxine. Uncle Charles. I don’t get there as often as I want. My schedule is six days a week and I have kids. I do love to shop in Atlanta. I like just hanging out in Buckhead.”

She still does breaking news and will pop up on Fox 5 every so often. “Atlanta is one of those special markets not just because I was born there,” she said. “When I was at ‘A Current Affair,’ Atlanta was one of our biggest markets.” (And Fox News does especially well in Atlanta as it is.)

ON TV
“Outnumbered,” noon weekdays, Fox News


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