Instead, the network devoted the night time slot to its core product, business news and personal finance; After the event is over. “Decisions like these are not made hastily or lightly,” CNBC president Casey Sullivan said in a message to employees on Thursday, obtained by The Washington Post. “I believe this decision will help strengthen our brand and the value we provide to our audience.”
A network employee familiar with the situation said the decision was not a cost-effective one, despite Smith’s huge salary as anchor of the evening news.
Smith came to the network with a reputation as a down-to-earth anchor that he honed during his 23-year career at Fox News Channel. In the year In late 2019, he abruptly resigned from the network, denying that it was fueled by occasional right-wing clashes with colleagues.
He was hired from Fox by longtime CNBC president Mark Hoffman, who left the network earlier this fall, Smith told The Post in a 2020 interview. Smith had discussions with other cable news networks before deciding to join CNBC, the news outlet he replaced when “Shark Tank” was rerun in September.
But Smith’s position in the industry hasn’t brought huge ratings for CNBC. Between June and September of this year, his show was the 52nd most-watched show on cable news, averaging 206,000 viewers each night. Still, the network said the show doubled its viewership in the 7 p.m. slot, attracting a relatively affluent audience that advertisers prized.
“The quality of journalism Shep and his team deliver every weeknight is exemplary and is not lost on us or the 7 o’clock viewers,” Sullivan wrote. “In a time of widespread misinformation and disinformation, The News succeeds in providing viewers with a clear understanding of the facts.”
The network president said CNBC wants to identify new opportunities for about 20 members of Smith’s staff. A replacement show focusing on business news will start in 2023 in the 7 pm slot. Smith could not immediately be reached for comment.