C.J. Q&A: Harris Faulkner reflects on life at Fox News

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 4, 2012 - 7:10 PM

Former KSTP-TV anchor Harris Faulkner is so comfortable at Fox News Channel, she shows up for afternoon news meetings in hair curlers.

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Bride Harris Faulkner and groom Tony Berlin.

Former KSTP-TV anchor Harris Faulkner is so comfortable at Fox News Channel, she shows up for afternoon news meetings in hair curlers. Faulkner, anchor of "Fox Report Weekends," says she is known as "the 'Curler Lady' because I have to have that big Texas hair. I've had people tweet it out, so I don't even try to hide it anymore." She left the Twin Cities market in July 2004 but still misses Minnesota, where she has enduring ties. "Our closest friends live in the Twin Cities. Actually, they moved in on the very street we used to live. We get to see each other once or twice a year," said Faulkner. "One of my favorite places to vacation is Minnesota in the summertime because it's so beautiful." A dirty little secret from her time here: She was an ardent Brett Favre fan and closet Packers fan, although she's out now that she's living in NYC. "I was a Jet for a little while when Brett was a Jet," she said. Because the Packers didn't make it to the Super Bowl this year -- "Sometimes you peak too early" -- Faulkner doesn't "have a dog in this race. I hope [both the Giants and Patriots] bring it. I hope in the fourth quarter people are still eating wings. It's tough because I'll be working that night. For those people watching football, if they want to watch a little Fox, it's always hot on the 'Fox Report.'"

Q Is Tony Berlin still as cute as when he was a WCCO-TV reporter?

A You know, I'm partial to him. He gets better with age. We're having a good time on the East Coast, [but] I love Minnesota. I wouldn't have my Tony if it wasn't for the Twin Cities. He has turned out to be a great hubby and dad. We have two daughters. Bella just turned 5 and Danika, named for the race car driver although she spells hers with a "c," is our super-fast 2 1/2-year-old. And we have some house plants. Whenever Tony gives me the eye, I say, "I'll get you a dog. A boy puppy." That's a sure thing. [The girls] understand that Mommy's on TV and Daddy's on the phone [because Tony operates his PR company, Berlin Media Relations, out of their residence]. They think the phone is another medium like television. They'll say, "Mommy, I'm going to watch Daddy on the phone." I'm like, "Really? Well, that's exciting!" He's with the girls in the afternoon for Bella's homework and so forth. He's with them a tremendous amount of time, so we are really blessed that he's got his work at home and it helps us balance it all. We split up [responsibilities]. We both have things we do well. Like, honestly, C.J., I wouldn't let him wash anything in the laundry department because while I like pink and gray, everything comes out [those colors].

Q How many years have you been married?

A Eight and a half.

Q Survived the Seven Year Itch?

A Definitely.

Q How are Shirley and -- sorry, drawing a blank on your dad's name?

A Bobby, the colonel. They are doing great. Dad had a bit of a health scare a year ago, and we thought we were close to losing him. It has been an amazing journey since his recovery. Many viewers knew about it and ended up leaving messages for me on Facebook and Twitter. That is so sweet of you to remember. They're down in Texas. She's come out to watch the big show and loves Fox. They have Fox viewing parties in Texas. I have like 11 cousins in the Dallas metro.

Q Wondered how you balance your life after this Twitter.com post from Soledad O'Brien, anchor of CNN's refreshingly informative new "Starting Point": "Driving back to nyc. Ready to get home and see the kids. My son jack: 'thought you were doing a morning show, not an everyday show' sadface."

A I have a different answer every day. I do not have it figured out. There are days when I look at the schedule of things to do for family and for work, hour-by-hour, and at the end of the day I sometimes didn't come close, but I did my best. Other days I'm amazed: "Wow, how'd we get all that done?"

Q What has been your greatest surprise working at Fox?

A I think it's the level of talent. When I watch on television and I come to work and I see how hard people work -- what we see on TV is not an accident. It is the level of talent and dedication and it humbles me. I watch Bill O'Reilly and Greta Van Susteren and think, "They're just naturally gifted." Then I see what goes on behind the scenes and how much preparation, the volume of information they consume, and it blows my mind.

Q If you could have anybody's TV job, whose would it be?

A Mine. And I mean it. I used to say a country singer, but I think Bella's going to eclipse me in the singing department.

Q What does @HarrisFaulkner enjoy about Twitter?

A I'm into it when it comes to sports and I tweet during the show. I'll give you an example of just how amazing the Internet is now. With "Fox Report," you'll be on and during the commercials I'll get a tweet from one of the viewers and it'll be a family member of somebody we're about to interview from the [Italian] cruise ship. Amazing, the reach of the Internet, the merging of television. I'm so proud to work for a network that not only gets it but sets the tone for that. In 10 years, I don't think it's an accident Fox has had the success it has had. I'm looking forward to next week and really celebrating that with the network; to stand up and wave a banner for the network [a reference to Fox's celebrating 10 years as No. 1]. I'm really proud. Ten years ago I had just left our Fox affiliate in Kansas City for the fabulous Twin Cities and I remember reading that Fox was on top. I called my good friend and former co-anchor Phil Witt to celebrate with him. I didn't know then that years later I would have the opportunity to anchor a prime-time show for Fox. It's amazing to be part of a corporation that values individuality and passion.

A Are you guys really beating CNN and MSNBC, because people can do whatever they want with numbers?

Q I think there are people who don't admit to their friends they watch Fox.... You know, I travel quite a bit because I've got family in the Southwest. ... People can tell me what I had on, so I know they're watching. ... If you ask me how they do the meters and diaries, I can't tell you all that. But people are watching Fox News Channel in droves.

Q Your daughters must have seen you do karaoke?

A And you know I love it. You know my oldest daughter is really into singing. She just told me, "Mommy, I don't think I want to be a soccer player." Surprised us all because she doesn't play soccer. But now she wants to sing, and she likes the idea of getting people to watch her sing. She likes the Fresh Beat Band, which I think is on Nickelodeon. It's tough sometimes, but I want her to see her Mommy doing something she truly loves. I want them to see me succeeding and being happy in that success. But I love what I do. I love that I get to do a prime-time show and mix that in with new media that's coming along. We have seen such growth in terms of how many people are watching online [where she anchors a 90-minute morning show Wednesday through Friday and covering breaking news on "Happening Now"]. I truly love "Fox Report." It is my favorite show. Shepard Smith -- and I always say this and he probably thinks, "Yeah, whatever" -- but I always say "You're my favorite. I love the news program." He started that franchise. It's like news on steroids. That's our newscast of record. It's so high-paced. Not just high energy, but the story count is very high. We do politics, we do everything. To be part of that franchise, to have the weekend version of that, is a high accomplishment and fun. I just have a blast. People can tell I am having a good time.

I can't think of a job I would want more, except some of those cooking shows look fun.

I could be Rachael [Ray] for a day, but then I would have to come back and do the news, so there you have it.

Q Some of your fans in Minnesota have called my attention to you appearing more voluptuous?

A Really! Is that code for fat?

Q I think they are talking up top, Harris?

A I don't know what to say about that! That's a nice way of saying I'm fat.

Q As I understand it [and you'll understand it too, if you watch the video under "publicity" at harrisfaulkner.com] that's a compliment along the lines of elle a une belle poitrine.

A Oh, goodness gracious. Well, tell them: Thank you?

Q Maybe it's because you wear more dresses?

A In local news, I think you're right, in general people wear more suits. I'm not sure why that was. I do wear more dresses now, but the way the "Fox Report" is set up, I walk on the set, you see me from head to toe. I probably was always looking the same, but now you just see more of me. You change your taste over time. I feel more like a dressy girl. I was more into suits, maybe, before.

Q You look as though you are still exercising?

A Oh yeah, but I think I probably worked out more in Minnesota than I ever did in my life because I loved the lakes so much. I don't say that with any lightness. I used to walk all of those lakes, even when they were frozen. New York is a great place to walk, but you are walking from A to B. I work out and then I stress because I'm a mom. I think that counts, doesn't it?

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS and cj@startribune.com. More of her attitude can be seen Thursday mornings on Fox 9.

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