Shepard Smith was getting bored with the news — not the news itself, but how he’s been delivering it for the last 14 years on Fox’s signature evening newscast, “Fox Report.”
“When is the last time you learned something on the news, that wasn’t already on your phone?” Smith, a 17-year Fox News veteran, asks.
Changing times call for new challenges. And with his multi-year, multi-million dollar deal — he’s now Fox’s second highest-paid anchor, behind Bill O’Reilly — he’ll certainly be challenged. In addition to his 3pm show, rebranded “Shepard Smith Reporting,” Smith will “weave” breaking news into and out of FNC’s programming block — shows that are more opinion, than news.
Smith met with several networks over the past few months as his three-year deal with Fox News was coming due. (MSNBC president Phil Griffin said he’d hire Smith, if given the chance.) FNC chairman and CEO Roger Ailes was already trying to accommodate another of his stars — Megyn Kelly — who wanted a higher profile in primetime. Ailes was also trying to devise a way of bringing TV news into the 21st Century.
“Roger came to me one night at dinner and said, ‘I hope you’ll stay here, but if you do go somewhere else, I got your back,” he tells TVNewser. “People don’t really know this, but we have a father-ish, son-ish relationship.”
“Other networks offered great platforms,” he says. “But what I didn’t know was that there was going to be something new and modern we could do here.”