Broadcaster Abby Huntsman recently accepted a role as co-anchor for Fox & Friends Weekend. Bold caught up with Abby for a Q&A about her newest career opportunity and advice for aspiring TV journos.
BOLD: How does it feel to have accepted this new role?
ABBY HUNTSMAN: It feels amazing to officially have a home and with people that I love working with. Like anything in life, who you do it with is everything. I think Fox and Friends Weekend is the longest show on television, so if you don’t enjoy it, that’s a pretty miserable weekend!
B: What are your goals for this new role?
AH: To stop pressing the snooze button! No, that will never happen. In all seriousness, for many people, our show is the first thing they see and hear when they wake up. We have a huge responsibility to tell them what they need to know before they begin their day and most importantly to make them smile. I hope to make people smile and laugh every day that I’m on the air because life should never be that serious.
B: You’ve said that you enjoy working for Fox. Why do you enjoy working for Fox?
AH: Fox has said from day one that they believe in me and that they only want me to be myself. That is the best gift you can get working in television. I feel so lucky to have this opportunity and hope to always make the very most of it.
B: Who has been your favorite person to interview so far on Fox?
AH: I always love interviewing my dad. He’s my role model (as is my beautiful mom!). Honestly, my favorite interviews are real people at diners across America. I have learned so much just from traveling to different towns and chatting with the local folks about life. That is the best part of my job. So many incredible stories that never get told. I could sit in a diner all day talking to people. It’s the best.
B: Who is your dream interview subject for Fox and why?
AH: I would love to interview Diane Sawyer…my first job was interning for her. She continues to be someone I look up to and admire in this field. Her ability to do tough interviews with such warmth and class is unlike anyone I’ve ever seen. She is always the one asking questions; I would love to turn it around on her. She would be fascinating.
B: Your new role coincides with a new President. What are you expecting to see in this new White House as a key player with Fox, a key player in the political realm? What advice would you give President-elect Trump if you were his press secretary?
AH: This will certainly be the most unpredictable administration to ever cover. On so many levels! I don’t think anyone knows what will come in the next four years. You’re foolish if you think you do. He is his strongest when he talks about bringing this country together and fighting for American jobs. That should be his focus, not fighting with individuals on Twitter. I think it will be a packaged deal though…he can’t help himself.
B: How do you manage to wake up so early? What keeps you motivated?
AH: It’s funny, I was never a morning person before I got to Fox. My husband laughs now because he used to have to drag me out of bed in the mornings. I’m on a schedule now. The key is going to bed early, like 7 p.m. early! You don’t have much of a night life, but I have come to love just being home at night, going to bed early. I’m a 30 going on 65 year old. And living in NYC you can get into any restaurant you want for the early bird special. That makes it all worth it.
B: What are the major differences you saw moving from afternoon at MSNBC to morning at Fox in terms of how you cover the news?
AH: For whatever reason, breaking news happens so often right in the middle of the day, whether it be a shooting or a press conference. When I anchored the 3 p.m. show at MSNBC, almost half of the time the show would blow up right before we would go on air. Morning news is such a mix of news, interviews, and just fun banter. People want to wake up and be informed but also laugh. I love that responsibility.
B: You have always been in a family in the public eye and chose to take a public job. Do you ever feel that you wish sometimes you were a “civilian” with anonymity? How do you handle the spotlight?
AH: I feel lucky because my job is public, but I still live a very private life. Of course there are moments when you’re getting attacked on social media (I hate this part of our culture) or you just don’t want to sit up straight on camera anymore (four hours can kill your back on the curvy couch!). But my parents instilled in me at an early age that working hard and serving other people in some way is what life is all about. My brothers are both in the Navy doing things I can’t talk about publicly, but whenever I have a tough day or feel totally exhausted and can’t keep going, I think about them. Whatever they are doing at the very moment is much tougher than anything I’m going through. They make me want to be stronger every day.
B: How did you find the move from MSNBC to Fox?
AH: Before coming to Fox I didn’t know anyone. It’s amazing, in just one year this place feels like my family. One of the biggest differences was how loyal our audience was. The Fox viewers are really special. They really are part of our family, you can feel it. The recipe for success is pretty simple for Fox News…they know their audience, they are loyal to them. So our audience is loyal back to us.
B: What is bold to you? What was the boldest moment of your life?
AH: Bold to me is confidence. Being sure of yourself and the impact you want to have on the world and the people around you. It’s also selflessness. Because being selfless is putting others before yourself. We could use a lot more of that in this world!
B: Broadcast journalism is highly competitive. What advice would you give to aspiring young women to break through?
AH: Be bold! Believe in yourself, and don’t try to be someone that you’re not. Be the very best version of yourself. Don’t be too hard yourself, because you will make mistakes along the way, many of them. I still do almost every day! And enjoy every minute of it. Even when it’s tough, it’s the best job in the world.
Carrie Sheffield is the founder of Bold. She is passionate about storytelling to empower and connect others. A founding POLITICO reporter, Carrie contributed on political economy at Forbes and wrote editorials for The Washington Times. After earning a master’s in public policy from Harvard University, she managed credit risk at Goldman Sachs and researched for Edward Conard, Bain Capital founding partner and American Enterprise Institute scholar. She earned a B.A. in communications at Brigham Young University and completed a Fulbright fellowship in Berlin.