After a change of heads earlier this year, CNBC outlined its focus, now cutting ties with Shepard Smith as his 7 p.m. show did not pay off in the ratings.
After KC Sullivan replaced Mark Hoffman as the president of CNBC, he told employees that the network would now "prioritize and focus on our core strengths of business news and personal finance."
He said in the memo, "This is key in our efforts to continue building on our position as the number one global business news brand and to connect with new audiences of all kinds interested in their financial future.
"We need to further invest in business news content that provides our audiences actionable understanding of the complex developments in global markets and the implications on institutions, investors and individuals. During times of flux and uncertainty, our place in the lives of those we touch on-air, online and in person becomes even clearer, and more essential," he added.
Sullivan's move to let go of Smith was his first major decision.
Smith's show will be replaced by an hour of business news. Variety's Brian Steinberg wrote that the "anchors for that program will be named at a later date, and it remains to be seen whether CNBC will select candidates from among its current roster or seek to woo someone from outside its ranks."
Smith had a 23-year career with Fox News, where he was a stern critic of former President Donald Trump. He left the network in October 2019, alleging the network spread lies through its opinion hosts.
"I don't know how some people sleep at night," said Smith to CNN. "I know that there are a lot of people who have propagated the lies and who have pushed them forward over and over again who are smart enough and educated enough to know better."
According to The Washington Post, Smith cost CNBC approximately $10 million per year, and his show had a staff of 25 people. Between June and September, he was ranked 52nd among most-watched on cable news, bringing in an average of 206,000 viewers nightly.
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