Fox News announced late Friday afternoon that Shepard Smith is leaving the network after 23 years. Sources tell Mediaite that it was Smith’s decision to leave and that he was not fired.
In a moving statement at the end of his Friday show, Smith announced the news, and said it would be his last broadcast.
“Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalist will thrive,” Smith said.
In recent years, Smith has been something of a heretic at the ratings-dominant and broadly pro-Trump network. He has often provided critical coverage of President Donald Trump, end even feuded with Fox News opinion hosts.
The Fox News anchor, hired to join the network at its inception in 1996, said his agreement with Fox meant he would not be reporting elsewhere in the near future.
“So recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News, after requesting that I stay, they obliged,” Smith said. “Under our agreement I won’t be reporting elsewhere, at least in the near future, but I will be able to see more of Geo and Lucia, and our friends and family, and then we will see what comes along.”
“This is my last newscast here. Thank you for watching today and over the decades as I traveled to many of your communities and anchored this program, studio B, and Fox Report, plus endless marathon hours of breaking news. It’s been an honor and my pleasure.”
In a statement, Fox News president Jay Wallace said Smith will be stepping down from his role as chief news anchor and managing editor of the network’s breaking news unit.
“Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave FOX News and begin a new chapter,” Smith said in a statement. “After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged. The opportunities afforded this guy from small town Mississippi have been many. It’s been an honor and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favor. I’ve worked with the most talented, dedicated and focused professionals I know and I’m proud to have anchored their work each day — I will deeply miss them.”
While the statements from Fox News leadership and Smith are glowing, CNN’s Brian Stelter reported that the recent blowup with prime time host Tucker Carlson was a “breaking point” for Smith.
“A series of rotating anchors will host the 3PM/ET time slot until a new dayside news program is announced,” the network said.
“Whoa,” said Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto at the opening of his 4 p.m. show. “I’m a little stunned and a little heartbroken. I don’t know what to say.”
Watch Smith’s farewell above, via Fox News.
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