Shepard Smith’s role change begins Fox News prime-time shuffle

shepard smithAt the conclusion of Thursday evening’s edition of “Fox Report,” host Shepard Smith announced he will be going on a medical leave to have shoulder surgery and that his role will vastly expand upon his return.

That role will include heading up a new “breaking news desk” for the network and the renaming of his 3 p.m. show “Studio B” to “Shepard Smith Reporting,” which will serve as a platform for delivering news that utilizes social media and breaking content in a “revolutionary” new way, as described by Mediaite.

“It’s the most exciting venture of my career,” Smith told viewers.

But Smith will lose his 7 p.m. program “Fox Report,” which he anchored for 14 years. A move that clears the field for other changes to Fox News’ prime time lineup that are rumored to include a new primetime show for Megyn Kelly at 9 p.m. and Sean Hannity taking over the 7 p.m. hour.

Smith signed a new multi-year deal with Fox News Channel that insiders say is second only to Bill O’Reilly in terms of compensation, Media Bistro reported.

“Shep is a premier journalist and one of the finest newsmen of the modern era,” Fox News chief Roger Ailes said in a release. “He will exemplify the ethos that FOX News is when and where the news is, as it happens, no longer bound by a traditional evening format conceived in the 1960’s.”

In an interview Thursday with Mediaite, Smith said of the new “Breaking News Desk,” which will include a new studio known as The Fox News Deck:

“We’re no longer going to pretend that you’re not reading Twitter and Instagram. What we want to do is vet it for you.

We’ve got crazy new technology installed in the “Fox News Deck” to allow us to evaluate all our digital properties. We’ll be able to vet information for our audience at a speed unseen before.”

Tom Tillison

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