The president and executive editor of Fox News Media revealed how Fox News Channel will fill the 3 p.m. slot vacated by Shepard Smith in a surprise announcement late last week.
Jay Wallace told Variety in an interview that the hour will be staffed by employees of the network’s news division. The report indicates Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, Brit Hume, Shannon Bream, Martha MacCallum, Bill Hemmer and John Roberts are all slated for stints in the time slot.
Wallace indicated the channel expects to unveil a new, news-focused hour in the 3 p.m. hour next year with a specific anchor. In the meantime, Trace Gallagher, a Los Angeles-based correspondent, got the call to kick off a stint in the time slot today.
“This is going to remain a solid news hour, with our best news stars,” Wallace said, adding: “Journalism is a huge part of the mandate here.”
Variety notes that Smith’s sudden exit “has prompted a heightened buzz of social-media speculation about the place of traditional newsgathering at the Fox Corp. outlet, which attracts one of TV’s most dependable audiences for opinion-based programs such as ‘Hannity’ and ‘Fox & Friends.’ Viewers and critics have noticed a recent tug-of-war between the journalists who fill most of the daytime schedule at Fox News and the opinion hosts who typically hold sway in prime time.”
The report notes that Smith recently feuded on the air with prime-time host Tucker Carlson.