A little more than a year ago, newsman Shepard Smith abruptly announced he was leaving Fox News after 23 years. The departure sent shockwaves through the cable news industry and led to a ton of speculation about what actually happened and whether it was the first of more shakeups at the network. The longtime anchor remained mostly quiet about the why, even after he picked up a new show on CNBC, but he’s finally broken his silence and offered a bit of insight into why he left.
The reveal happened during an interview with Christiane Amanpour yesterday on CNN. Shepard Smith was relatively candid about his feelings on Fox News and his time there. He also explained in detail why he stayed so long. You can check out a portion of his quote below…
I thought it was important I stay there because I knew that I was grounded in that philosophy and working toward that promise, and if you feel like the Fox viewers were getting mis or disinformation, I was there to make sure they got it straight. There were a lot of others in there who were trying to do the same thing. But I thought to just abandon it and to deprive those viewers, it wasn’t just me it was an entire team of people getting the news to the air, to deny them that with the thought they might replace them with opinion instead seemed a little selfish. So, I stuck with it for as long as I could, and at some point, I realized I reached a point of diminishing returns and I left. But I’m proud of the work we did there.
Shepard Smith first joined Fox News when the network launched in 1996. He was later promoted to Managing Editor of the Breaking News Division and was considered by most observers to be the lead hard news voice. Over the years, however, Fox began devoting more and more of its programming, especially in primetime to opinion-style coverage. Talking heads like Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly and eventually Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson became the faces of the network and Smith became more of the just the facts counterpoint.
Smith abruptly announced his Fox News departure in October of 2019 with a really thoughtful message at the end of what many thought would be a standard episode of his show. His resignation was apparently a shock to many in the newsroom, and at the time, there were a lot of conversations about whether others including Chris Wallace would follow him out the door. Ultimately Wallace stayed (and recently hosted a Presidential debate). Smith laid low for awhile but eventually signed a deal with CNBC, where he’s currently hosting The News With Shepard Smith.
You can check out The News with Shepard Smith on CNBC on weekdays at 7 PM ET. As for the 7 PM Fox timeslot, rumors are circulating that the network is going to turn it into another opinion hour and will be auditioning talking heads soon. Maria Bartiromo and Trey Gowdy are among the more famous names that are considered contenders to occupy it long-term.