Confirming massive speculation within the cable news-speculating community, Fox News host Megyn Kelly will be taking a spot in the primetime lineup of Fox News when she returns from her soon-to-happen maternity leave. Currently the host of “America Live,” which runs from 1 p.m to 3 p.m. on Fox, Kelly has a genuine delivery, a soft spot for hot-button legal issues and a proven ability to moderate those “fair and balanced” debates that are usually anything but. On the minus side of the ledger, Kelly reported that the Washington Monument was tilting after the August 2011 earthquake.

The statements on this promotion are rote, as usual. From Fox News chief Roger Ailes:

“Megyn is an exceptional talent who has successfully filled and surpassed each role we have given her at the network. Her ability to command the screen, delve into the facts and lead a debate is what makes her one of the most sought-after anchors in the business.”

From Kelly:

“Roger Ailes hired me nine years ago when I was new to this business and he had little other than instinct to suggest it might work out. I was grateful to him then, remain so today, and am excited for this next opportunity.”

Just how Fox News will install Kelly in prime time is a matter of great mystery, given that its stars in the various time slots — including Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren — appear to be locked down on contracts. That said, the Erik Wemple Blog sticks to its earlier recommendation: Do whatever it takes to dislodge Hannity from his 9 p.m. perch and give it to Kelly. Or to just about anyone else, for that matter.

Sure, Hannity kills it in the ratings; he speaks to the Fox News faithful; and he relentlessly flogs the issues that the Fox hierarchy decides are important to Americans. He also puts together tendentious and absurd programming whose end is imperative for any organization with “news” in its title.

Fox News says a new prime-time schedule will be released at a later date.

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