A previous version of the story incorrectly stated that Shepard Smith will leave a primetime slot.
The game of musical chairs continues at Fox News. Shepard Smith will leave his 7 p.m. slot as host of “Fox Report” to become the managing editor and lead news anchor of a new breaking news division. The news comes just two months after it was announced that Megyn Kelly would be joining the channel’s highly rated primetime lineup.
“Shep is a premier journalist and one of the finest newsmen of the modern era,” Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes said in a statement. “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 1960s.”
According to the press release, Smith also will anchor a new show at 3 p.m. called “Shepard Smith Reporting," which is a program that “will rely on an extraordinary combination of technologies and social media to bring viewers the latest hard news across all FNC platforms, allowing them to witness how news is gathered.”
Smith told the Hollywood Reporter the breaking news division has been in the works for years. "The equipment didn't really exist, and we didn't have platform for it,” Smith said. “Roger came to me with the idea five months ago. We have to stop pretending that people aren't tweeting things, that they don't know the news when it's happening. So why can't we lift the veil? Our producers and researchers are going to be brought into the fold. We'll be presenting information in real time as it's being confirmed. It will look different and be different. Our set is going to be a working newsroom."
Smith will head up the new division in a new studio called the “Fox News Deck,” which will enable him and his team to break into programming at any time of the day to deliver the latest breaking news. "I'll only be there as long as the news is big," Smith told THR. "I'm not here to be an air hog."
So, how will all this work, exactly? "Roger describes it as me as quarterback calling an audible,” Smith said. "The producing of the news will happen from the set. There's a massive touch screen, and it will make for a better experience for the viewer."
"We'll leave holograms to the competition," Smith added.
Fox was mum about who would be replacing Smith in the 7 p.m. timeslot, but many speculate that it will be Kelly, who is set to return from maternity leave this fall.