Shepard Smith Is Departing Fox News Channel

By A.J. Katz 

Shepard Smith is stepping down from his role as Fox News chief news anchor and managing editor of the breaking news unit.

Smith’s last show as a Fox News anchor was this afternoon, the 3 p.m. ET edition of Shepard Smith Reporting.

An extraordinary development.

“Shep is one of the premier newscasters of his generation and his extraordinary body of work is among the finest journalism in the industry,” Fox News Media president Jay Wallace announced today in a statement. “His integrity and outstanding reporting from the field helped put Fox News on the map and there is simply no better breaking news anchor who has the ability to transport a viewer to a place of conflict, tragedy, despair or elation through his masterful delivery. We are proud of the signature reporting and anchoring style he honed at Fox News, along with everything he accomplished here during his monumental 23-year tenure. While this day is especially difficult as his former producer, we respect his decision and are deeply grateful for his immense contributions to the entire network.”

The network says it will use a rotating series of anchors for the 3 p.m. hour, an hour now being referred to as Fox News Reporting.

One of the network’s original hires in 1996, Smith has long been the face of the network’s news operation. He has covered virtually every major news story over the course of his career as both a correspondent and an anchor.

“Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News and begin a new chapter,” Smith added. “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.”

Smith has been a stern critic of the Trump administration, butting heads with some of the his conservative colleagues at Fox News. America’s commander in chief has gone after Smith on a number of occasions via Twitter, and it remains to be seen whether he acknowledges Smith’s departure from Fox News.

*UPDATE: He did:

Before anchoring Fox News’ 3 p.m. hour, Shepard Smith Reporting, Smith anchored The Fox Report and Studio B, the No. 1 cable news shows in their respective timeslots.

When breaking news happened, millions of Americans turned to Smith. He anchored breaking news coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013 along with the subsequent manhunt and ultimate capture of the Tsarnaev brothers; the financial crisis of 2008; the War in Iraq (2003); the War in Afghanistan (2001), as well as the murderous terrorist attacks and aftermath of 9/11.

More recently, he anchored breaking news of the El Paso shooting; the Parkland school shooting; Hurricanes Dorian & Irma; the Las Vegas massacre; the 2016 terrorist attacks in France and Belgium; the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015; the 2014 riots following the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson; and the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, among many others.

We named Smith one of our “30 Most Impactful TV Newsers of the Past 15 Years,” back in January 2018. We asked the veteran TV news journalist what he felt the biggest way that the news industry had changed the past decade and a half, here’s what he had to tell us:

There have been far too many consequential changes to list here. But I’ll explain what I tell students and young professionals who pass through the newsroom: The only constant in this business is change. When I was just starting out, we ripped wire reports from printers in the newsroom. Then the Internet changed how we communicate. Everything moved at the speed of light (or more realistically, at your 28.8 kbps modem connection.) More recently, Twitter and various mining/aggregator websites have done it again. The college graduates today (like all of us) have no idea what the next 15 years will hold. All anyone can do is be ready for change. And that’s part of what makes it all so exciting.

In 2014, Smith took us behind the scenes for our series What’s Your Show?