Former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith will be moving to CNBC to host an evening news program. The move comes less than a year after Smith abruptly left the conservative news network, cancelling his contract. This new addition suggests CNBC is attempting to enter the primetime news game while poaching some Fox viewers.
Smith’s Departure From Fox
In October of 2019, Smith announced his departure from Fox News. At the time, he was only two years into a multi-year contract, which left many wondering what caused the sudden change. The cause for Smith’s departure was actually quite clear to those who had critically followed the network in the months leading up to his exit.
Smith was “chief news anchor” at Fox News just before he left. Unlike the network’s many conservative pundits, Smith mostly reported news as opposed to expressing his opinions. Still, Smith had a somewhat moderate take on politics as opposed to the network’s more conservative, pro-Trump brand.
During the impeachment trial against President Trump, Smith withstood criticism for saying the Democrats’ case was legitimate. His opinion was seconded by colleague Andrew Napolitano.
The far-right Fox News host Tucker Carlson blasted Napolitano, criticizing him for saying that Trump’s phone call with the Ukraine – the allegation at the center of the impeachment – was technically illegal.
In response, Smith took time from his own show to call-out Carlson’s act of bad faith. “Attacking our colleague who is here to offer legal assessments, on our air, in our work home, is repugnant,” Smith said.
CNBC is one of three branches within the NBCUniversal news division. NBC News delivers nightly objective reporting while MSNBC is a 24-hour cable network with a liberal bent. CNBC, meanwhile, is dedicated to finance and business news during the day, while at night it often airs reruns of Shark Tank and Undercover Boss. With the move, NBCUniversal is looking to sharpen CNBC’s brand.
Smith will host a nightly news broadcast, under the title of Chief General News Anchor. “The News with Shepard Smith” will likely debut in the fall. In a statement, CNBC said that Smith’s arrival will be part of a broader overhaul of the network. Other additions to the network, however, are yet to be announced.
CNBC Chair Mark Hoffman said Wednesday:
“Information is coming at us from every direction. 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. We’re thrilled that Shep, who’s built a career on an honest fight to find and report the facts, will continue his pursuit of the truth at CNBC.”