L.A, 2021-12-12 10:50:00. Chris Wallace is leaving Fox News for CNN
NEW YORK – Veteran broadcaster Chris Wallace has signed on to his show “Fox News Sunday” after 18 years to join CNN’s new broadcast service, dealing a blow to Fox’s news operation just as its opinion has become prominent.
CNN’s announcement that Wallace will be joining CNN+ as a broadcaster came within two hours of his last Fox show. The streaming service is expected to start in early 2022.
“It’s the last time, and I say this with real sadness, we’ll meet like this,” Wallace, 74, said on his Fox show and later rerun on Fox News. “Eighteen years ago, the bosses here at Fox promised me that they would never interfere with any guest I booked or question I asked. And they kept that promise.”
Wallace was a veteran broadcast network journalist, working for both ABC and NBC News, before the late Roger Ailes lured him to Fox with the promise of his Sunday show. Methodical and never flashy – unlike his father, Mike, the legendary “60 Minutes” reporter – Chris Wallace was known for his methodical preparation and willingness to ask tough questions to all the guests.
He was the first Fox News personality to run a presidential debate, doing so in 2016 and 2020. The debate he moderated last year was derailed when then-President Donald Trump repeatedly interrupted Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
“He’s the most determined interviewer in television, based on intense willingness and obvious old-fashioned perseverance,” said Howard Kurtz, host of Fox’s Media Buzz. “He has the kind of seasoned judgment that just comes from so many years of covering political issues and he might be the best debate moderator ever.”
It’s a “huge loss for Fox News, there’s no doubt about that,” Curtis said.
Wallace generally tolerated Fox’s opinion side and rarely took them publicly, although he said in 2017 it was “bad form” when opinion hosts criticized the media.
“I have been free to report to the best of my ability, to cover the stories I believe are important, and to hold our country’s leaders to account,” Wallace said on Sunday. “It was a wonderful trip.”
His announcement even surprised guests on his Sunday show; They were not notified in advance. Fox said a series of rotating news anchors will take over Wallace’s duties until a permanent host is appointed.
Wallace was one of the notable trio of straight news anchors on Fox who offered a contrast with popular opinion hosts such as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. Shepherd Smith left in 2019 and is now a news anchor on CNBC. Brett Beyer is still on Fox as the host of an evening news program in Washington.
Unlike when Smith left, Wallace was nearing the end of his contract with Fox, said a network executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the case publicly. Until a successor is appointed, Fox said Wallace will be replaced by a rotating string of guests, including Baer, John Roberts, Shannon Brim, Martha McCallum, Neil Cavuto, Dana Perino and Bill Hammer.
There was a report from NPR this fall that Wallace and Bayer vetoed Fox executives over some of its tougher opinion programming, notably Carlson’s documentary on the January 6 insurrection on the Capitol, “Patriot Purges,” which aired on Fox’s streaming service. Two Fox contributors, Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes, cited this program in their choice to get off the grid.
Wallace said he wanted to “try something new, to move beyond politics to all the things I care about.”
“I look forward to the new freedom and flexibility that live broadcasting offers in interviewing key figures across the news landscape – and finding new ways to tell stories,” he said in the CNN ad.
CNN said more details about Lass’ new role will be forthcoming. It’s the biggest name among the staff at CNN+, which also brought on former NBC News anchor Kasie Hunt and business journalist Scott Galloway.
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