Former Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Joins CNBC to Host Evening Newscast
By Joe Flint
CNBC has signed former Fox News journalist Shepard Smith to
anchor a new one-hour evening news program, the network said
"The News with Shepard Smith" will debut this fall in the 7-8
p.m. time slot on the cable news business channel. The Monday
through Friday newscast marks a significant shift in the evening
programming strategy for CNBC, which currently relies on light,
CNBC Chairman Mark Hoffman said Mr. Smith's show will try to be
a counter to news and commentary programming.
"Information is coming at us from every direction," Mr. Hoffman
said in a statement. "If we're not careful life-altering decisions
will be made based on half-truth, rumor, misdirection or worse. We
aim to deliver a nightly program that, in some small way, looks for
the signal in all the noise."
NBCUniversal Chief Executive Jeff Shell has previously indicated
a desire to see CNBC experiment with more news and commentary
programming in prime time to offer a counter to the right-leaning
Fox News and the left-leaning CNBC sister channel MSNBC. CNBC and
NBCUniversal are units of Comcast Corp.
In announcing Mr. Smith's hiring, Mr. Hoffman suggested there
would be no other changes coming to the rest of CNBC's prime-time
lineup anytime soon. The Smith newscast will "serve as the perfect
bridge between CNBC's daytime investor-focused news programming and
the network's aspirational business-oriented entertainment programs
in prime time."
Other CNBC prime-time shows include "The Profit," featuring
businessman Marcus Lemonis on the hunt for businesses to invest in,
and "Jay Leno's Garage." The repeats of "Shark Tank" will also
continue to be part of the network's evening lineup.
Mr. Smith said in a statement that he is "honored to continue to
pursue the truth, both for CNBC's loyal viewers and for those who
have been following my reporting for decades in good times and in
bad." CNBC, he said, has a "vision for a fact-based, hourlong
evening news program with the mission to cut through the static to
deliver facts, in context and with perspective."
Mr. Smith will be joining a network with a much smaller
audience. At Fox News, Mr. Smith's afternoon newscast averaged 1.3
million viewers during his last quarter. The 7 p.m. time slot he is
taking over at CNBC has averaged fewer than 250,000 viewers so far
this year, according to Nielsen.
One of the first on-air hires at Fox News when it launched in
1996, Mr. Smith left the channel last October amid increasing
tensions between him and the network's opinion side, specifically
Tucker Carlson. Mr. Smith also occasionally clashed with Sean
Hannity and was criticized by President Trump as well.
Fox News is a unit of Fox Corp., which shares common ownership
with Wall Street Journal parent News Corp.
At the time of his exit, which came while he still had a few
years left on his contract, Fox News stressed that Mr. Smith was
leaving of his own accord. When Mr. Smith left, he told viewers,
"even in our currently polarized nation, it is my hope that the
facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that
journalism -- and journalists -- will thrive."
Write to Joe Flint at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 08, 2020 14:49 ET (18:49 GMT)
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