The announcement comes two months after the Fox News Channel said its Megyn Kelly would be moving to primetime. FNC says that as part of a new multi-year deal, Smith will be moving on from the nightly 7 PM ET “Fox Report” slot and having his current 3 PM slot, “Studio B,” supercharged with a new name and mission. No word yet what exact time slot Kelly will fill, but the network has also signed long-term deals with Bret Baier, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren. A new schedule will be announced at a later date.
Smith will lead a newly established breaking news division as its Managing Editor and continue as Chief News Anchor as part of his new multi-year deal. This move will innovate the way news is presented across the network by “escaping the boundaries of the traditional evening newscast.”
In the course of this shift, which will take place this fall, “The FOX Report with Shepard Smith” will be incorporated into a breaking news unit where Smith will dedicate his anchoring, reporting and presentation acumen as domestic and international events unfold. Smith will continue to anchor at 3PM/ET with the debut of “Shepard Smith Reporting,” a new one-hour program which will rely on an extraordinary combination of technologies and social media to bring viewers the latest hard news across all FNC platforms, allowing them to witness how news is gathered.
The show will be housed in a newly constructed signature studio unveiled upon launch, known as “The FOX News Deck.” The Deck and Smith’s dedicated team of producers and information specialists will also be able to interrupt all programming as needed at a moment’s notice to bring viewers the latest news as it develops. The newly created command center concept fuses incoming real-time news feeds, digital media newsgathering and social media utilizing advanced, state-of-the-art technology.
Said Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO, FOX News: “Shep is a premier journalist and one of the finest newsmen of the modern era. He will exemplify the ethos that FOX News is when and where the news is, as it happens, no longer bound by a traditional evening format conceived in the 1960’s.”
Smith added, “Learning and reporting the news has been my passion for 25 years. I’m thrilled that Roger is trusting and empowering my team and me to bring the news to our viewers as it happens throughout the day and night. Roger’s forward-looking approach to anchoring and reporting will continue to solidify FNC’s position as the number one cable news network in the country.”
Michael Clemente, EVP/News, commented, “Shep’s strength in breaking news and on location anchoring and reporting remains unmatched, and that’s why we are committed to fully utilizing his skills away from the teleprompter whenever and wherever news is breaking across multiple platforms. His new program will provide viewers with the opportunity to become more involved with how news organically develops.”
Joining FNC at its inception in 1996, Smith has anchored The FOX Report with Shepard Smith, which has served as the network’s signature evening newscast at 7pm, since its debut in 1999. Under Smith’s direction, the program has been number one in its timeslot for nearly 12 consecutive years, averaging nearly 2 million viewers a night, according to Nielsen Media Research.
RBR-TVBR observation: According to a Drudge Report story last month, Megyn Kelly will be taking the 9 p.m. ET Fox News slot currently occupied by Sean Hannity. Kelly left her daytime show “America Live with Megyn Kelly” to go on maternity leave in July. Our guess is Susteren will move to 7-8 PM; O’Reilly will stay at 8-9PM and 11-Midnight; Kelly will air 9-10 PM and Hannity will take 10-11PM. We later heard that guess is right on the mark.