Bob Beckel will return to Fox News' 'The Five'

Bob Beckel is back on Fox News Channel after a somewhat contentious separation.

Beckel, who offered a liberal counterpoint on the network's late-afternoon panel show "The Five," will return as a co-host of the 5 p.m. program, which he left in June of 2015. "Bob was missed by many fans of 'The Five' and we're happy to welcome him back to the show," said Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of Fox News Channel and its corporate parent, 21st Century Fox, in a prepared statement.

Beckel, who in the past served as a political consultant as well as a campaign manager for Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale, was one of the original co-hosts of the program. He left in 2015 while recuperating from back surgery in a split that was seen as less an amicable. "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, who was then the network's executive vice president of programming,in a statement. "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 the network, along with Jack Abernethy.

RELATED: Highest paid TV hosts:

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The highest paid hosts on TV
17. Anderson Cooper: $9 million to $11 million

Cooper has been hosting his CNN show "Anderson Cooper 360" since 2003.

(Photo: Getty)

16. George Stephanopoulos: $10 million

The "Good Morning America" host renewed his contract with ABC in 2014According to TV Guide, Stephanopoulos signed on for a five-year deal.

(Photo: Getty)

15. Chelsea Handler: $10 million

It pays to move to Netflix. The former E! host reportedly signed a $10 million deal with Netflix consisting of several comedy specials and a talk show for the streaming service. Handler previously made between $8 million and $12 million for her E! show.

(Photo: Getty)

14. Shepard Smith: $10 million

The Fox News anchor renewed his contract in 2013 in a multi-year contract, which changed his role to managing editor of Fox News' breaking news division and hosting "Shepard Smith Reporting."

(Photo: Getty)

13. Robin Roberts: $10 million to $14 million

The "Good Morning America" cohost received a big pay bump in the last few years. In 2013, it was estimated she made $6 million per year. Roberts has been an anchor on "Good Morning America" since May 2005. 

(Photo: Getty)

12. Conan O'Brien: $12 million

O'Brien's switch to TBS has proved more profitable than some of his late-night network competition. He has been hosting "Conan" since 2010 on the network. In May 2014, O'Brien signed a deal to stay on TBS through 2018.

(Photo: Getty)

11. Pat Sajak: $12 million

In 2013, Sajak told The Huffington Post he may be nearing the end of his time hosting the game show "Wheel of Fortune." But his time at the wheel isn't over just yet. Last year, Sajak renewed his contract through the 2017-2018 season.

(Photo: Getty)

10. Jimmy Kimmel: $13 million to $15 million

The king of "Celebrity Mean Tweets" renewed his contract with ABC earlier this year through 2019.

(Photo: Reuters)

9. Jimmy Fallon: $13 million to $15 million

Since taking over "The Tonight Show," Fallon has been dominating in the ratings against other late-night hosts.

While Fallon is making more than he was during his last "Late Night" show, his reported pay still isn't quite the $20 million David Letterman was said to be making during his run. 

(Photo: Reuters)

8. Adam Levine: $13 million to $15 million

Adam Levine has been on "The Voice" since season one back in 2011. Though it began as a spring TV series, it now airs another season in the fall. The show recently started its 11th season.

(Photo: Reuters)

7. Miley Cyrus: $13 million to $15 million

The new celebrity judge on "The Voice," Miley Cyrus is reportedly making just as much as Levine.

Cyrus' salary is reportedly less than that of Jennifer Lopez's $17.5 million when she was on "American Idol."

(Photo: Getty)

6. Megyn Kelly: $15 million to $20 million

Kelly is set to make $15 million in her last year at Fox News. The cable news network reportedly offered her more than $20 million to renew her contract. Despite being courted by rival news organizations, including NBC News, it became clear that they could not match Fox News' money, according to the The New York Times.

That likely means that NBC lured over Kelly with a broad, multi-year deal that would make her a star on its broadcast network — and hence give her a wider audience — with a salary landing between $15 million and $20 million.

(Photo: Reuters)

5. Kelly Ripa: $16 million to $20 million

Ripa took over hosting duties on "Live!" in 2011 after the departure of Regis Philbin and is currently searching for a new cohost after Michael Strahan's recent exit to host on "Good Morning America" in April. 

The morning show was renewed through 2020 in January.

(Photo: Reuters)

4. Bill O'Reilly: $18 million to $20 million

As of 2015, "The O'Reilly Factor" continues to hold the No. 1 spot in cable news ratings.

(Photo: Getty)

3. Matt Lauer: $20 million

In November 2016, the "Today" host renewed his contract with NBC News for two more years for a $20 million salary, according to Fortune.

(Photo: Getty)

2. Ellen DeGeneres: $20 million

Now in its 14th season, DeGeneres' syndicated talk show "Ellen" was recently renewed through 2020.

(Photo: Reuters)

1. Judge Judy: $47 million

Judge Judy is still the highest-paid celebrity on TV. Now in its 21st season, Sheindlin's "Judge Judy" continues to be the highest first-run syndicated show during the week with an average of 10.3 million viewers. In 2015, Sheindlin extended her contract with CBS through 2020.

(Photo: Getty)

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Beckel's re-hire continues to put a spotlight on Rupert Murdoch's influence at the cable-news outlet, which had been run for years by Roger Ailes. Murdoch was also said to be instrumental in the move of conservative journalist Tucker Carlson to a one-hour program. Carlson's "Tucker Carlson Tonight" launched in November on Fox News and has since been moved to the network's 9 p.m. slot – a berth previously occupied by Megyn Kelly.

"I'm thrilled for the opportunity to go home again and join my television family around the table of 'The Five'," said Beckel, in a prepared statement. "I have no doubt it will be a vigorous yet entertaining debate."

"The Five" has been the most-watched cable-news program in its timeslot for 66 consecutive months, according to data from Nielsen. During the fourth quarter of 2016, "The Five" averaged 2.7 million viewers, beating CNN and MSNBC combined, while attracting 462,000 viewers between 25 and 54, the demographic most coveted by advertisers in news programming.

After he left "The Five," Beckel served as a contributor for a time at rival CNN.


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