'Temper Tantrums'? Former Fox News Anchor Shep Smith's CNBC Ratings Continue to Collapse

Richard Drew

I decided to start this article “backward,” that is, with a conclusion, which is this: Former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith is irrelevant. So, then, why write this article?  Because smug Mr. Smith dumped all over his then-network, abruptly walked out and left for “greener” (left-wing) pastures, and has only seen his ratings continue to swirl down the liberal toilet. Newsworthy? Don’t care. Stick the knife in and twist it? Hell, yeah.

Oh, I almost forgot.

Also, because, according to reports, Smith has been described as not only “a very difficult person to work for” — his “temper tantrums” have reportedly been both “ugly” and frequent. In other words, the proverbial perfect storm. Better yet, self-inflicted. By a know-it-all condescending liberal. If there was ever a guy who “got exactly what he deserved” – call it karma, whatever – it’s this guy. And this is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

So how bad is it? Left-wing online rag Daily Beast reporters Lachlan Cartwright and Maxwell Tani pubbed an article on Wednesday titled “Inside Shepard Smith’s Post-Fox News Crash on CNBC.” That bad.

The dynamic duo began with a bleak — dare I say “wistful”? — assessment of various reasons Smith’s CNBC program continues to implode. (Emphasis, mine.)

Whether it’s a poor time slot, behind-the-scenes squabbles, an outdated news format, a slower post-Trump news cycle, or just a once-popular anchor taking his frustrations out on staffers, CNBC insiders have a lot of reasons for why Shepard Smith’s show has failed to capture major ratings. But one thing many agree on is that it has not met the bosses’ expectations.

Cartwright and Tani wrote:

According to Nielsen Media Research, the show averaged just 197,000 total viewers in June, losing a third of its viewers since the show’s peak in February, which saw an average of 296,000 nightly viewers.

The show is currently the seventh-highest rated program on CNBC and 11th in the key demographic of viewers between the ages of 25 and 54 years old.

This was not supposed to happen. Not even close.

CNBC had high hopes for Smith’s new program after he abruptly bolted from Fox News, as Daily Beast noted. The network built a brand spanking new studio at CNBC headquarters in New Jersey for its new “star” — and then built a second one in Smith’s Hamptons home as a result of the COVID pandemic.

While Cartwright and Tani described Smith as “a pro with high news standards prone to generous gestures; he famously sends his employees several hundred dollars every year as a holiday bonus,” they also reported, “amid a wider re-evaluation of bullying in media workplaces, some staffers have complained that he is difficult to deal with.”

Daily Caller contributor Kevin Tober hit Smith with a “Shemp” blast —one of the various “Three Stooges.”

According to Cartwright and Tani:

At least two people with direct knowledge of the situation described Smith as having regular “temper tantrums.” When CNBC announced Smith was joining the business news channel, it tapped Sandy Cannold, a veteran TV producer, to help helm the show along with co-executive producer Sally Ramirez, a veteran of local television.

But according to multiple people familiar with the matter, Cannold departed less than six months in, and clashed at times with Smith in front of staff. Other employees were also frustrated when, in recent weeks, the show laid off two of the few non-white employees on its production team.

The reaction to the Daily Beast article has been predictable — on the right, of course — including from conservative blogger and talk show host Wayne Dupree, who noted that Fox News actually saw a boost in the 3 p.m. time slot when “Shep huffed off” and Bill Hemmer took over.

Finally, let’s close it out with a short trip down Shep Smith memory lane. As reported by NewsBusters in 2015, Smith offered his thoughts on Communist Cuba:

Smith fretted that if American businesses such as Taco Bell or Lowe’s moved to Cuba, it could “ruin the place.” Smith made his comment during the December 17, 2014 edition of his afternoon newscast, Shepard Smith Reporting, soon after news broke that President Obama had been secretly negotiating with dictator Raul Castro for a return to normalized relations.

Here’s how that went:

Smith: “You know the fear among anybody who’s ever been there, or cares at all about the Cuban people, as so many of us do — the last thing they need is a Taco Bell and a Lowe’s. I mean, we don’t need a –”

FBN’s Gerri Willis: “Toilet paper, toothbrushes, right? Toothpaste.”

Smith: “That’s it. But you know, it’s one big idea and it all sort of comes together and, you wonder, are we about to get up in there and ruin that place?”

“You wonder, are we about to get up in there and ruin that place.” Nice.

Yep, Shep — you’re getting exactly what you deserve. Please keep it up, won’t you?

Incidentally, speaking of imploding ratings swirling down the liberal toilet, CNN — AKA “The Most Trusted Name in News” — was unavailable for comment.