CNBC's $10-million-a-year man Shep Smith is out after two years

See also: Increasing chaos engulfs CNN as its ratings hit rock bottom with no end point in sight

It was announced on Thursday that the cable channel CNBC's $10-million-a-year man, news reader Shepard Smith, will be doing his last show at 7 P.M. E.T. before month's end.  According to CNBC, the channel will now "refocus" its evening programming "on business and market coverage."

Two years ago, Smith was hired to supposedly transform CNBC's desultory evening schedule, which, other than hit show Shark Tank, had been a ratings graveyard of reruns of old NBC shows like Dateline and other must-not-see TV.  A multi-million-dollar studio in New Jersey was built for Smith, and a staff of 25 was hired to produce The News with Shepard Smith.

YouTube screen grab.

Since CNBC reportedly does not subscribe to ratings services, viewer numbers are hard to come by.  But three months after Smith's news show premiered in September 2019, the Washington Post published an article, "Shepard Smith was a big catch for CNBC.  But the viewers haven't followed him from Fox."  The article reported that "[s]ince his debut in late September, 'The News With Shepard Smith' has averaged a modest 280,000 viewers each weeknight at 7 p.m."  The Post bemoaned the fact: "It may be that Smith is doing the right show, suiting his skills as a journalist and communicator, but on the wrong network and at the wrong time."

Smith spent 23 years at Fox News and was a star at the channel.  But with his increasingly left-wing views, Smith was increasingly an irritant to his fellow hosts and many of the channel's viewers.  Meanwhile, the MSM heartily approved of him, as in this Washington Post feature article, which claimed, "Smith's persistent fact-mongering has made him persona non grata among some parts of the Fox News faithful."

On March 18, 2018, I first reported at American Thinker about the emerging gulf between Smith and Fox News.

In mid-February [2017], following [President] Trump's freewheeling news conference, Smith labeled Trump's responses "absolutely crazy."  He even — horror of horrors!, defended CNN, Fox's mortal enemy, when Trump blasted it as "fake news" during another news conference.  "CNN's reporting was not fake news," Smith said.  "Its journalists follow the same standards to which other news organizations, including Fox News, adhere."

During his last year at Fox News, Smith became the darling of numerous MSM portraits, including a 3,000-word hagiographic cover story in Time magazine.  My conclusion was to compare the mainstream's adulation for Smith to its love affair with RINO Republican Sen. John McCain at the end of his life:

A popular description of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) came to mind: "The mainstream media's favorite Republican."  In this case, Shep Smith emerged as the equivalent: "The MSM's favorite — and only approved — Fox News host."

Some media analysts are speculating that Smith may emerge next in prime time at CNN.  If that is so, it will most certainly be another black mark against the judgment of CNN CEO Chris Licht.

Whatever evolves, the near future of cable news should prove to be interesting.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who has covered national politics, the politics and economics of health care, popular culture, and media for over five decades.  His web page with links to his work is  Peter's extensive American Thinker archive:  Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.

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