CNBC axes Shepard Smith’s nightly news after two years
NEW YORK (AP) — CNBC is canceling Shepard Smith’s nightly news after two years, and its new chairman said he wants to focus on the network’s core strength in business news.
Smith, who is leaving the network, will make his final television appearance later this month. He had no immediate comment.
CNBC said Smith’s show drew the richest audience of any evening program on cable news — usually a huge selling point. But apparently there weren’t enough viewers.
His show averaged 222,000 viewers this year, down slightly from 2021, Nielsen said. In the last three months of 2020, “News with Shepard Smith” had 280,000 viewers.
By contrast, Fox News’ Jesse Watters had 3.4 million viewers in the same time slot Tuesday, and MSNBC’s Joy Reid had 1.3 million, Nielsen said.
Smith was lured to CNBC by previous CEO Mark Hoffman. But Hoffman was replaced in September by KC Sullivan, who announced Smith’s departure in a staff memo Thursday.
“I believe we need to prioritize and focus on our core strengths of business news and personal finance,” Sullivan wrote.
He said he would launch the business news show in the same period early next year, but gave no other details.
The head of CNBC said that “at a time when disinformation and misinformation were rampant, ‘News’ managed to provide the audience with the clearest understanding of the facts.”
Smith worked at Fox from its inception in 1996 until 2019, resigning after clashing with Fox opinion leader Tucker Carlson. He hosted the 7pm show on Fox for several years, but it was moved to afternoons.
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