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Former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith is joining CNBC for a nightly newscast

Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Shepard Smith, a longtime anchor on Fox News, is joining NBCUniversal's CNBC, where he will helm a new nightly newscast in a bid to broaden the cable network's audience.

Smith will have his own hour-long program, "The News With Shepard Smith," airing weeknights at 7 p.m. EDT, the business news channel announced Wednesday.

The program, set to launch in the fall, will be a newscast of record, with none of the political commentary that has become a staple of cable news.

While CNBC focuses on financial news and market coverage during the day, Smith's program will have a broader mandate, although it will depend on reporting from CNBC correspondents.

The channel has a far smaller audience than CNN, Fox News or NBCUniversal's MSNBC, but its ability to reach high-income executives who have it on in their offices all day makes it valuable to advertisers.

Smith's program will air against right wing commentator Lou Dobbs, who draws the largest audience on Fox Business Network and more viewers than any show on CNBC.

Smith, 56, will be based at the CNBC studios located in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. He will also hold the title of chief breaking general news anchor and handle coverage on major stories during the day.

The veteran news anchor was one of the best-known names at Fox News for more than 20 years until his sudden departure in October. He fronted breaking coverage of nearly every major story during much of his tenure at the cable news channel.

He anchored a daily afternoon program and was long touted for his credentials as a nonpartisan journalist amid the right-leaning hosts that draw the largest audiences at the network.

While Smith generally avoided presenting his views on the air, he became more outspoken in recent years regarding the opinions presented by other Fox News hosts during the Trump era, pointing out when they varied from the truth.

Smith's frustration over the commentary led to a request to be released from his contract in October. He was said to be especially dismayed over remarks by prime time host Tucker Carlson, who said, "White supremacy is not a real problem in America."

 

Smith is the first major talent hire at CNBC in recent memory, as the channel has long depended on developing its own personalities.

People familiar with the negotiations said he was first approached last year after he departed Fox News. He had a noncompete clause that kept him from starting a new network until this month.

There have been conversations within the NBCUniversal News Group about programming CNBC live topical talk shows on CNBC in the evening that would be an alternative to the progressive views on MSNBC and the right-leaning hosts on Fox News.

But a statement from CNBC Chairman Mark Hoffman indicated that Smith's program is aimed at bringing a larger audience to the network's current primetime lineup of "Shark Tank" repeats and other reality programs.

"Shep's newscast will tap into his extensive experience and deep passion for breaking news, in-depth storytelling and incisive interviews and serve as the perfect bridge between CNBC's daytime investor-focused news programming and the network's aspirational business-oriented entertainment programs in primetime," Hoffman said in a statement.

Smith likely did not come cheap. He was earning $15 million a year in his last deal at Fox News. His compensation at CNBC was not disclosed.

A native of Holly Springs, Mississippi, Smith was a local TV news reporter in Florida, a correspondent on the syndicated program "A Current Affair." He was also a reporter for Fox's news service for its affiliates before joining Fox News in 1996.

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