CNBC is ending its nightly newscast with Shepard Smith, the former Fox News anchor who moved to the business channel in 2020.
KC Sullivan, who recently took over leadership of the NBCUniversal-owned outlet, told staffers in a memo Thursday that Smith’s final program will air at the end of the month. A CNBC representative said Smith would leave the company.
Sullivan said “The News With Shepard Smith” will be replaced by a nightly program focused on business news that will be more compatible with the financial market reporting CNBC does throughout the day.
The move is part of Sullivan’s plan to put more resources into business and personal finance coverage.
“I believe this decision will ultimately help to strengthen our brand and the value we provide our audiences,” Sullivan said in the memo.
Before joining CNBC, Smith was a longtime anchor at Fox News known for his even-handed approach on the conservative-leaning channel and was one of its highest paid on-air personalities. He became an iconoclast at the network by directly contradicting many of the talking points that were pushed by its prime-time commentators.
Smith, 58, left Fox News in 2019 amid reports that he was increasingly unhappy with the intensity of the pro-Trump rhetoric spouted by Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.
But Smith no longer stood out from the pack after he signed with CNBC, where his nightly program failed to attract a large audience.
Smith is drawing an average of 222,000 viewers on CNBC in 2022 according to Nielsen data. The audience does not approach the levels of Fox News, CNN or MSNBC in the 7 p.m. Eastern hour.
While CNBC remains a highly profitable business for NBCUniversal, it has fallen behind Fox Corporation’s Fox Business Channel in the Nielsen ratings during the hours when the stock market is open.
CNBC does not use Nielsen numbers to sell the channel, which is watched by many executives and market watchers in their offices.