Not much can prevent Harris Faulkner from achieving her goals—certainly not a little rain. On this early summer day, the rising star of the Fox News afternoon chat show, Outnumbered, is training for the upcoming Avon 39 Walk. The morning’s drizzle is picking up. It’s wet—and getting wetter.
Faulkner, 49, grabs a baseball cap from her car in case it starts to pour. Wearing a red headband, hot pink jacket and matching sneakers, she launches into a power walk around Overpeck Park in Leonia. She plans to complete four circuits today, totaling about five miles. That’s far short of the 39.3 miles she’ll cover in the two days of the Avon Walk to End Breast Cancer in October. (The event takes place a few days after her 50th birthday.) But today’s a Saturday, her only day off all week, and with two young daughters at home, the upbeat and energetic Faulkner needs to train whenever she can grab the time.
Faulkner joined Fox nearly a decade ago, following stints as a newscaster in North Carolina, Kansas and Minnesota, where she met her husband, Tony Berlin, a former newscaster who now runs his own media-relations company.
A recipient of six Emmy awards, Faulkner recently marked her first anniversary as co-anchor of Outnumbered, one of Fox’s hottest daytime shows. According to the network, it’s the top-rated cable news show in its afternoon time slot. Faulkner describes the show’s mix of hard news and talk as the future of TV news. The format features four women and one man debating and dishing about the day’s issues and cultural happenings. The discussion, at times, becomes heated.
For Faulkner, it’s part of a six-day work week that begins Sunday evenings with her anchor slot on Fox Report Weekend. Monday through Friday, she steers the conversation on Outnumbered.
Despite her busy schedule, Faulkner took on the Avon walk to honor family members and friends whose lives have been touched by breast cancer—especially her Aunt Mary, her mother’s younger sister, who was recently diagnosed with the disease.
Faulkner grew up an Army brat, moving with her family to places such as Kansas, Germany and New Jersey’s Fort Monmouth, where her father, a former combat pilot, was stationed. She spent her formative years around military brass, soaking up their perspective on global conflicts and strategic thinking.
“Having a parent who served in the military has made me a better journalist,” says Faulkner, explaining that it enabled her to better grasp the significance of world events, such as the fall of the Iraqi city of Ramadi in May.
Faulkner attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where her extracurricular activities included work as a model; at one point, she graced a Santa Barbara calendar as Ms. October. After college, she considered law, then decided to try journalism. She worked two jobs—at a Los Angeles TV station and a public-access cable channel—and soon was clocking about 70 hours a week. “I love the energy and urgency of working in news,” she says.
After Los Angeles, Faulkner moved around the country for TV news jobs, finally landing in New York. In 2005, she came to the attention of Fox News chief Roger Ailes while working as a correspondent for the former 21st Century Fox show, A Current Affair. It was a life-changing moment for Faulkner, and she’s been at Fox ever since.
When she’s not covering breaking news, Faulkner can be found playing Barbies with her daughters, Bella, 8, and Danika, 6, at their home in Edgewater. The girls are responsible for the sparkly, seafoam-green nail polish she sports today. Faulkner sees her own responsibility as shielding them from the violence and bloodshed of TV news.
“We’re very tech light in our house,” she says, picking up the pace of her walk. “We like to watch movies about princesses.”
We’ve done four laps around Overpeck, and the rain is coming down steadily. Most people would pack up and leave. But not Faulkner.
“C’mon, let’s do one more lap!” she says. I wave goodbye, and off she goes.