Shepard Smith to Anchor CNBC Newscast
The longtime Fox News host has re-emerged at an unusual spot.
Wall Street Journal (“Former Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Joins CNBC to Host Evening Newscast“):
CNBC has signed former Fox News journalist Shepard Smith to anchor a new one-hour evening news program, the network said Wednesday.
“The News with Shepard Smith” will debut this fall in the 7-8 p.m. time slot on the cable news business channel. The Monday through Friday newscast marks a significant shift in the evening programming strategy for CNBC, which currently relies on light, unscripted fare.
CNBC Chairman Mark Hoffman said Mr. Smith’s show will try to be a counter to news and commentary programming.
“Information is coming at us from every direction,” Mr. Hoffman said in a statement. “If we’re not careful life-altering decisions will be made based on half-truth, rumor, misdirection or worse. We aim to deliver a nightly program that, in some small way, looks for the signal in all the noise.”
NBCUniversal Chief Executive Jeff Shell has previously indicated a desire to see CNBC experiment with more news and commentary programming in prime time to offer a counter to the right-leaning Fox News and the left-leaning CNBC sister channel MSNBC. CNBC and NBCUniversal are units of Comcast Corp.
In announcing Mr. Smith’s hiring, Mr. Hoffman suggested there would be no other changes coming to the rest of CNBC’s prime-time lineup anytime soon. The Smith newscast will “serve as the perfect bridge between CNBC’s daytime investor-focused news programming and the network’s aspirational business-oriented entertainment programs in prime time.”
Other CNBC prime-time shows include “The Profit,” featuring businessman Marcus Lemonis on the hunt for businesses to invest in, and “Jay Leno’s Garage.” The repeats of “Shark Tank” will also continue to be part of the network’s evening lineup.
It says a lot about the changed media landscape that it initially flummoxed me that Smith would be surrounded by a weird investment show, kitsch about olds cars, and re-runs of a game show. We’re rather used, after all, to entire networks devoted to news and current events commentary.
But, of course, one-off newcasts in the midst of entertainment programming was the only model in the first several decades of television and remains the norm at the four broadcast networks and PBS. (Although, admittedly, I tend to forget that the networks still have newscasts.)
At 56, Smith is still relatively young and he’s excellent at what he does. One wonders, though, how much of an audience for non-ideological news remains. And, if one wants that—let alone an hour of it a night—PBS has been providing that for generations.