Chris Wallace Announces Exit From Fox News

UPDATED, with additional details: Chris Wallace announced his departure from Fox News, with his Fox News Sunday his final show.

He said on the show that “after 18 years, I have decided to leave Fox. I want to try something new, to go beyond politics to all the things I’m interested in. I’m ready for a new adventure. And I hope you’ll check it out. And so —for the last time, dear friends — that’s it for today. Have a great week. And I hope you’ll keep watching Fox News Sunday.”

A permanent host has not been named. Wallace’s contract was set to expire at the end of the year, according to a source.

Wallace did not announce where he is headed to next, but a source said that it would be CNN+, the subscription streaming service set to launch next year. A spokesperson for the network did not immediately return a request for comment.

Fox News Media said in a statement, “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.”

Wallace, 74, has been one of the network’s highest profile hosts, known for his hard-hitting interviews on both sides of the aisle. But he also has been a target of President Donald Trump, including after Wallace moderated the first presidential debate last year. That event turned into a chaotic event, as Trump repeatedly interrupted Joe Biden. Wallace later acknowledged that it went a bit off the rails.

But his interviews with newsmakers often drew praise for their preparation and for his followups, including when Wallace interviewed Trump in July, 2020. The then-president at times took to Twitter to blast Wallace.

Since Trump’s defeat last year, Fox News has tried to consolidate the audience on the right, bumping newscasts from the nighttime hours in favor of more talking head opinion hosts. Tucker Carlson, more than any other figure, has triggered ongoing controversies, most recently over a Fox Nation documentary that advanced the theory that the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol was a false flag operation. More recently, Jewish groups called for an apology after Lara Logan, a Fox Nation host, guested on Fox News Primetime and compared Anthony Fauci to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele.

In interviews, Wallace has tried to distance himself from the opinion side of the network, telling Deadline in 2020, “They do their job, we do our job.” In his on air remarks on Sunday, he said, “Eighteen years ago, the bosses here at Fox promised me they would never interfere with a guest I booked or a question I asked. And they kept that promise. I have been free to report to the best of my ability, to cover the stories I think are important, to hold our country’s leaders to account.”

Wallace’s announcement was a surprise. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a guest on Sunday’s show, tweeted, “Shocked to hear that Chris Wallace is leaving #FoxNewsSunday. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the show. Chris challenged everyone fairly and tried to give his viewers the best information to evaluate issues.”

Wallace signed a multi-year contract in 2017 to remain at the network past the most recent presidential election.

In the 2020 interview with Deadline, Wallace lamented that the news business, along with politics, had become “so tribal.”

He said, “People come up to me, and the thing they say most often is, ‘I love how fair you are. I love that you’re equally tough on both sides.’ And while I like praise, I actually find it kind of depressing. Because when I started in this business 50 years ago, being fair was the basic job requirement to keep you from being fired. And the idea that I stand out now because I’m fair, I think is a kind of sad commentary on the state of journalism.”

Wallace joined Fox News in 2003 after a long tenure at ABC News and, before that, NBC News. He succeeded Tony Snow as moderator of Fox News Sunday, and through the years interviewed lawmakers from both parties, presidents and foreign leaders, including a memorable interview with Vladimir Putin in 2018.

More to come.

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