Liberal commentator Bob Beckel will return to Fox News on Monday after leaving the network in 2015.
Beckel will co-host “The Five” with current hosts Eric Bolling, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Greg Gutfeld and Dana Perino. He first joined the network in 2000 and was one of the original hosts of “The Five” beginning in 2011.
“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to go home again and join my television family around the table of ‘The Five,’” Beckel said in a statement. “I have no doubt it will be a vigorous yet entertaining debate.”
Current co-host Juan Williams will remain a contributor at the network and will make appearances on “The Five.”
Beckel parted ways with Fox News in 2015 under difficult circumstances. He took a leave of absence after undergoing back surgery and entering rehab for an addiction to prescription painkillers. Several months later, he was let go.
“We tried to work with Bob for months, but we couldn’t hold ‘The Five’ hostage to one man’s personal issues,” said Bill Shine, then senior executive vice president of programming at the network. “He took tremendous advantage of our generosity, empathy and goodwill and we simply came to the end of the road with him.”
Shine is now co-president of Fox News.
At the time, Beckel said he was baffled by the network’s decision.
“Bob was missed by many fans of ‘The Five’ and we’re happy to welcome him back to the show,” Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of Fox News and its parent company 21st Century Fox, said in a statement Monday.
Beckel served in the Jimmy Carter administration and was campaign manager for 1984 Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale. After his split with Fox in 2015, he was hired as a commentator by CNN and worked as a columnist at USA Today.
“The Five” has the highest ratings among cable news shows in its 5 p.m. time slot and averaged 2.7 million viewers last quarter.