Updated Dec 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

CNN hires Chris Wallace away from Fox News

Longtime "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace is leaving the network after nearly two decades, he announced Sunday. He will be joining CNN as an anchor for its new streaming service, CNN+.

Why it matters: Known for his impartiality and tough interviews, Wallace was the bedrock of the network's hard news division, commanding respect from political leaders on both sides of the aisle, even at a time when cable news has become much more polarizing.

Details: In a press release, CNN said Wallace's "new weekday show will contribute to CNN+’s slate of original, live programming and will be available at launch."

"I am thrilled to join CNN+," Wallace said in a statement announcing the news.

  • "I look forward to the new freedom and flexibility streaming affords in interviewing major figures across the news landscape—and finding new ways to tell stories," he said.

Wallace first announced his abrupt departure on his show earlier on Sunday, alluding to wanting to "try something new," after nearly two decades with the network.

  • "It may sound corny, but I feel we’ve built a community here," he said. "There’s a lot you can do on Sundays. The fact you’ve chosen to spend this hour with us is something I cherish."
  • In a statement, Fox News Media said, “We are extremely proud of our journalism and the stellar team that Chris Wallace was a part of for 18 years. The legacy of 'Fox News Sunday' will continue with our star journalists, many of whom will rotate in the position until a permanent host is named.”
  • The latter was confirmed by an email from a Fox News spokesperson.

Catch up quick: Wallace has long been considered one of the most authoritative TV news journalists in Washington. 

  • Prior to joining Fox in 2003, Wallace worked at ABC News as a senior correspondent. Before that, he served as NBC's chief White House correspondent. 
  • He began his broadcast career in local news in New York in 1975. 
  • His father was "60 Minutes" journalist Mike Wallace.

The big picture: Wallace marks the latest in a string of cable news host departures and shakeups in the past few weeks and months.

  • NBC News' Brian Williams signed off from his 11 p.m. program on MSNBC last week after 28 years with the network.
  • CNN's Chris Cuomo was terminated from the network last Saturday following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal, leaving CNN's 9 p.m. primetime spot open.
  • MSNBC's Rachel Maddow is expected to leave her daily program next year as she pursues different types of journalism endeavors with the network, which will leave MSNBC's 9 p.m. primetime spot open.

What to watch: Vacancies at major cable organizations are piling up as more networks begin to invest in streaming alternatives.

  • "This speaks volumes about our commitment to journalism and CNN+, and we are thrilled to have Chris on the ground floor of helping us build the next generation of CNN and news," said Jeff Zucker, chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports and president of CNN Worldwide.
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