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Shepard Smith Vows to Cut News ‘Noise’ While Leading CNBC on New Path

NBCUniversal tried to harness two Fox News anchors in the recent past and failed. Now the company no doubt hopes the third time’s the charm. The company’s CNBC on Wednesday evening launched former Fox News daytime anchor Shepard Smith in a new 7 p.m. news hour that, as Smith himself described it, aims to give […]

NBCUniversal tried to harness two Fox News anchors in the recent past and failed. Now the company no doubt hopes the third time’s the charm.

The company’s CNBC on Wednesday evening launched former Fox News daytime anchor Shepard Smith in a new 7 p.m. news hour that, as Smith himself described it, aims to give viewers “journalists and experts, not opinions and pundits.” The business-news network clearly has some ambition for the new program. It hired a well-known producer, Molly Kordares, from “CBS Evening News,” lured Sally Ramirez, a top news executive from a major-market CBS affiliate in Houston, and assigned one of its veterans, Sandy Cannold, to oversee the project.

Several Fox News personalities who have left that outlet have gained new recognition for their newsgathering or anchoring skills, including Major Garrett and Catherine Herridge at CBS News and Alisyn Camerota at CNN. But NBC News has found the task of weaving Fox News anchors into its fabric more difficult. Greta Van Susteren, who held forth in Fox News primetme for fourteen years, but found tougher terrain at MSNBC, where an early-evening program she launched was on the air for just six months. Megyn Kelly, whose star soared while anchoring a primetime show at Fox News, had a tumultuous era at NBC News, where she was asked to anchor both a Sunday newsmagazine and a morning program.

Based on his debut this evening, Smith may find easier terrain. His new program, “The News with Shepard Smith” – a title also used once by Brian Williams for a similar program on MSNBC and CNBC – basically puts Smith back in the program he led at Fox News for many years, a 7 p.m. general-interest news hour that proved appealing for those info-highway aficionados who can’t get in front of a TV screen for the traditional network evening newscast. CNBC has scheduled the program with some care. At 7 p.m.,, Smith’s show won’t conflict with the main east-coast broadcast of “NBC Nightly News,” and a midnight repeat won’t clash with the last original program of the day from MSNBC, Brian Williams’ “The 11th Hour.”

Smith’s first show made use of a wide range of NBCU news personnel – a signal perhaps, of NBCUniversal’s recent consolidation of its news assets under a single executive, Cesar Conde. For the past several years, CNBC operated autonomously from NBC News and MSNBC, partially a result of a strained relationship between Mark Hoffman, CNBC’s president, and Andy Lack, the former…

Brian Steinberg

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