CNBC has opted not to renew “The News With Shepard Smith” after two years, citing a push toward business news and personal finance coverage, per CNBC. The veteran journalist will depart later this month as new chairman KC Sullivan completes his first network shakeup during his tenure.
The primetime nonpartisan general news program at the NBCUniversal venue will be discarded in favor of a live show that focuses on business news, launching in 2023 and with anchors set to be announced. For the time being, the slot will be filled with markets coverage, according to an email sent Thursday to CNBC employees.
“After spending time with many of you and closely reviewing the various aspects of our business, I believe we must prioritize and focus on our core strengths of business news and personal finance,” Sullivan said in the memo. “As a result of this strategic alignment to our core business, we will need to shift some of our priorities and resources and make some difficult decisions.”
Smith joined CNBC two years ago from Fox News, stating that he left the cable channel because of its “injurious” spreading of falsehoods to the American public. While at CNBC, he doubled the network’s 7 p.m. ET viewership, per Sullivan’s memo. “The News With Shepard Smith” had its largest average audience last month since April, though Nielsen ratings and viewership show dips year over year.
“The quality journalism Shep and his team delivered each weeknight was exemplary and not lost on us or our 7pm audience. ‘The News’ increased CNBC’s 7pm viewership average and attracted the most affluent audience of any primetime cable news program. At a time when misinformation and disinformation is rampant, ‘The News’ succeeded in providing audiences with the clearest understanding of the facts,” Sullivan said, adding that the decision was not “arrived at hastily or taken lightly.”
Smith’s team includes roughly 20 people, and the company said that it will work over the coming weeks to help employees affected by the cancellation find other work opportunities across NBC News Group.
Back in August, Sullivan was tapped as CNBC chairman, replacing his predecessor Mark Hoffman, who had served in the post since 2005. Prior to the role, Sullivan served as president and managing director of NBCU Global Advertising and Partnerships based in London.