CNBC is cancelling Shep Smith's show amid a broad network restructuring that president KC Sullivan said will force the business news channel to "make some difficult decisions."
"The News set out on a bold mission of providing non-partisan, fact-based reporting on the most important stories of the day in the U.S. and around the world," Sullivan wrote in an internal memo on Thursday, referring to Smith's show. "At a time when misinformation and disinformation is rampant, The News succeeded in providing audiences with the clearest understanding of the facts."
In his note to staff, Sullivan said that cancelling Smith's program was part of a decision to refocus the network on core business and finance programming. The News with Shep Smith will be replaced by a new business news program launching next year
CNBC scooped up Smith after the anchor abruptly departed Fox News in 2019 as part of an effort to revamp its evening lineup, which was best known for its reruns of the popular business reality show Shark Tank.
The network poured money into the show, building new studios for the evening news program at CNBC's New Jersey headquarters and at Smith's home in the Hamptons.
But the slickly-produced, straightforward evening news program had failed to attract the large audience that Smith had in his afternoon slot at Fox News, or produce breakout viral moments that made him a resistance star during the Trump years.
The show was always a strange fit for the network. While Smith did pepper his broadcasts with business stories, it was programmed like a traditional evening news program, featuring coverage of major weather events, politics, and general interest pieces.
And Sullivan isn't the only one in media making "difficult decisions": Basically every story you read about CNN and its parent company Warner Bros. Discovery is, at its root, about cost-cutting.
The Daily Beast caught early warning signs that the show was in trouble, and wondered whether it was the politics, or whether CNBC just wasn't the right home for a general news show.
Smith doesn't talk a lot about his personal life, but in a 2021 interview spoke about spending most of his life as a gay man at Fox News: “I am not here to be your token," he said. “I don’t want to be the gay journalist. I want to be the journalist who is gay.”