Shepard Smith to depart CNBC after networks cancels show

A still frame from "The News with Shepard Smith" on CNBC.
A still frame from “The News with Shepard Smith” on CNBC. (Image from CNBC broadcast, Graphic by The Desk)

Television anchor Shepard Smith will leave CNBC later this year after a network executive decided to cancel his hard news show this week.

The cancellation was first announced in a memo penned by CNBC president K.C. Sullivan that was distributed to network employees on Thursday.

Around 20 CNBC employees who were hired specifically for “The News with Shepard Smith” will be assisted by the network in finding other jobs within NBC News and NBC Universal. Smith himself is expected to leave the network by the end of December, according to a person familiar with his plans. He may take an on-air role at MSNBC or host a news program on the streaming service Peacock in order to fulfill the remainder of his multi-year contract, the person said.

Smith joined CNBC from the Fox News Channel, where his style of presenting news in a straightforward, yet casual, manner served as a segue between that channel’s hard news and political affairs programming during the day and its commentary shows in prime-time.

Similarly, The News was a dividing point in CNBC’s schedule between its business programs during the day and re-runs of syndicated shows like “Shark Tank,” “American Greed” and “Dateline” at night.

On Thursday, Sullivan said the cancellation of the show was part of a strategy to “prioritize and focus on our core strengths of business news and personal finance.”

“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.”

Sullivan said CNBC intends to make future investments in new business news content “that provides our audiences actionable understanding of the complex developments in global markets and the implications on institutions, investors and individuals.”

The News didn’t fit with a strategic review of the network’s business strategy, and won’t be part of its future strategy either. Less clear is whether CNBC intends to replace the syndicated shows at night with new business-focused shows, or if it will simply simulcast CNBC channels that broadcast to Asia and Europe. The network currently simulcasts Worldwide Exchange across all three versions of CNBC as well as its sister network CNBC World.