Remember when Shepard Smith left his plum slot at Fox News to go find himself?
Yeah, neither do I. In October 2019, Smith made a gracious—albeit abrupt—exit from the network, and because of his contractual obligations, he wasn’t planning on jumping ship to a new network just yet.
In July of 2020, a little less than a year later, CNBC made huge fanfare of Smith joining their network to host a one-hour evening program, The News with Shepard Smith.
After two years, CNBC announced it is parting ways with Smith.
CNBC has canceled “The News with Shepard Smith” in an effort to focus more on business-news coverage, the network said https://t.co/BPCIVRoUXx
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) November 3, 2022
CNBC has canceled “The News with Shepard Smith” in an effort to focus more on business-news coverage, the network said.
The network, a unit of Comcast Corp.’s CMCSA -1.71%decrease; red down pointing triangle NBCUniversal, plans to replace the 7 p.m. show with a business news program at the beginning of next year, KC Sullivan, president of CNBC, said in a memo to staff sent Thursday. “The News with Shepard Smith” will air its final show later this month, he said.
Adding more business news content will help to strengthen the network’s brand, Mr. Sullivan said.
A spokesman for Mr. Smith didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
It couldn’t have happened to a nicer fauxnalist—I mean—journalist. Very much like Chris Licht at CNN started cleaning house in order to move the network back to hard news as opposed to fake news, KC Sullivan, who took the helm at CNBC back in September, is looking to do similar things there.
The cancellation of Mr. Smith’s show marks the first prominent change under Mr. Sullivan, who took over as president of CNBC in September. Ending the program also represents a shift in strategy for the network. It had brought on Mr. Smith in 2020 as part of a push to offer more general news and be an alternative to the right-leaning Fox News and the left-leaning CNBC sister channel MSNBC.
After reviewing the network, Mr. Sullivan said it needed to be more strategically aligned on its core business.
“I believe we must prioritize and focus on our core strengths of business news and personal finance,” Mr. Sullivan said in his memo.
CNBC’s original stamp was straight business and finance, without the polarizing politics. Smith, with his infamous rants about former President Donald Trump during his administration, and Smith’s differences of opinion with Tucker Carlson and his highly-rated Tucker Carlson Tonight, Smith is as partisan as they come. So, it makes perfect sense that he’d be the first one to be kicked to the curb. Perhaps Smith will go back into the field, where he distinguished himself, or perhaps his landing has already been feathered.
CNN’s Jake Tapper is getting reassigned back to his 4:00 p.m. slot after next week’s midterms, so the 9:00 p.m. Eastern news space is available. CNN is making concerted efforts to move closer to actual news, so perhaps Licht has already picked Smith up from the curb and will give him a new home at the network.