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New Fox News Deal for Shepard Smith as Network Begins Program Changes

Breaking: Shepard Smith has signed a new multi-year deal with Fox News Channel in which he will become the primary breaking news anchor for the network. In the process, he will lose his 7pmET “Fox Report,” while his 3pmET program “Studio B” will now be known as “Shepard Smith Reporting.”

In addition to the 3pm hour, Smith, who made his name with breaking news coverage, will now be the breaking news anchor for other Fox News programs. His new role will include a new studio, known as The Fox News Deck. Smith joined Fox News at launch in 1996. He began anchoring “Fox Report” at 7pm, 14 years ago tomorrow.

“Shep is a premier journalist and one of the finest newsmen of the modern era,” says Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, who came up with the concept. “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.” Ailes hinted at the changes during a 21st Century Fox shareholder meeting in August. “Shep and I have been working quietly on something we will roll out in September on how news is presented, a new way to deliver news,” Ailes said.

Smith’s new deal, according to insiders, is second only to Bill O’Reilly‘s in terms of compensation.

This new deal sets in play other changes coming to Fox News primetime. Drudge reported last month that Megyn Kelly‘s new primetime show would air at 9pm, paving the way for Sean Hannity to take over the 7pm hour.

We’re told the staffs for “Studio B” and “Fox Report” had an all-hands meeting this afternoon where they got the news. The changes will happen this Fall. Smith is having major shoulder surgery and will be out on medical leave starting tomorrow.

FNC’s release, after the jump…

FOX News Channel’s (FNC) Shepard 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 to remain with the network, announced Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO, FOX News. 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. Additionally, 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.

In making the announcement, Ailes said, “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, Executive Vice President of 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. In addition to the weeknight newscast, Smith anchors the afternoon news program, Studio B, launched in 2002, which also ranks number one in its timeslot.

This year, Smith was notably on site from Boston providing live coverage during the aftermath of the tragic marathon bombing. He also reported live from Rome during the election of Pope Francis, as well as on the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI. In 2011, Smith was on location from Japan following the
devastating earthquake and tsunami and during the nuclear threats. During that same year, he provided extensive news coverage and analysis of the anti-government protests and civil unrest in Egypt and Libya.

Throughout his tenure with FNC, Smith has covered numerous prominent news events, including: Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath; the Middle East conflict from the Israel-Lebanon border; 9/11 and the subsequent war in Afghanistan; Operation Iraqi Freedom; the Columbine school massacre; and President Clinton’s impeachment trial. He was also one of only two television correspondents to witness the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in June of 2001.

Prior to joining FNC, Smith was a Los Angeles-based FOX News Edge correspondent, reporting on a wide range of stories for the FOX affiliate news service, including the crash of TWA Flight 800, the Montana Freeman Standoff, and the Oklahoma City bombing. Before this, Smith gained extensive local news experience throughout the state of Florida, reporting for WSVN-TV (FOX) in Miami, the former WCPX-TV (CBS) in Orlando, WBBH-TV (NBC) in Fort Myers, and WJHG-TV (NBC) in Panama City, where he began his television career.

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