Liberal Juan Williams leaves Fox News’ ‘The Five,’ citing COVID-19 experience as show returns to studio

‘The Five’ co-host Juan Williams had big personal news to share on Wednesday’s program: He’s leaving the Fox News weekday talk show.

Williams, 67, who has served as the chat fest’s liberal voice for nearly seven years, said his decision to leave related to the show’s plans to go back to in-person studio appearances and his own experience having COVID-19 last winter. He will remain a Fox News political analyst.

“It’s time now for One More Thing and I have an announcement. This is my last day hosting ‘The Five.’ COVID taught me a lot of lessons. As the show goes back to the New York studio, I’ll be staying in D.C.,” he told viewers.

Co-hosts of “The Five” (weekdays, 5 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. PDT) return to the show’s studio in Fox News’ New York headquarters starting Tuesday. Rotating liberal hosts will fill Williams’ spot until a permanent replacement is named.

Williams will continue working for Fox News as a political analyst from Washington, D.C., where he lives. He thanked the audience for watching “The Five.”

“You know, it’s been going on seven years since I have been a daily host of this show. The show’s popularity has grown every single year, so thank you. Thank you so much, to you, the viewers,” he said, before co-host Dana Perino introduced clips highlighting Williams’ time on the show.

Megan Albano, a Fox News vice president who oversees “The Five” and weekend programming, expressed gratitude for Williams’ commitment to the show and acknowledged his decision not to continue as the show returns to the studio.

“As we started planning ‘The Five’s return to its New York City studio at our headquarters a few months ago, Juan decided to stay in Washington, D.C., permanently. We accommodated his request, understanding and appreciating his desire to remain closer to his family and recognizing that a remote co-hosting role on a roundtable in-studio program was not a longterm option,” she said in a statement.

She continued: “While we will miss his insightful contributions each night and look forward to welcoming him on set whenever he’s in New York, we are pleased to have him continue his longtime role as a senior political analyst with Fox News Media.”

Liberal Williams was generally on his own on the conservative-skewing talk show, frequently butting heads with co-hosts Greg Gutfeld and Jesse Watters.

“It’s a real honor and pleasure to work with you, Juan. You made a good decision for yourself and for your family. You will be missed but not too far away. I bet you’re going to be on ‘America’s Newsroom,'” Perino said after the highlight reel, extending an invitation to appear on the the morning news program she co-hosts.

“Maybe not ‘Watters World,’ ” said Watters, referring to his weekly Fox News program. He alluded to their shared affinity for Black Eyed Peas, as their attendance at one of the band’s concerts was referenced in the highlight reel.

“I’m going to miss you, Juan, but maybe we’ll see each other at the Black Eyed Peas concert,” he said.

“That was fun,” Williams responded.

“Still a terrible band,” Gutfeld said, as the program concluded.

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