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Fox News Channel's Shep Smith Steps Down

Shepard Smith, Fox News Channel chief news anchor and managing editor of its breaking news unit, is stepping down.

Shepard Smith

Shepard Smith

Smith said he asked to leave, was first urged to stay, but then Fox "graciously obliged."

Friday's edition of Shepard Smith Reporting was his last show, according to Fox News Media president Jay Wallace.

Related: Fox's Shep Smith Receives Zeidenberg Award

“Shep is one of the premier newscasters of his generation and his extraordinary body of work is among the finest journalism in the industry," said Wallace. "His integrity and outstanding reporting from the field helped put Fox News on the map and there is simply no better breaking news anchor who has the ability to transport a viewer to a place of conflict, tragedy, despair or elation through his masterful delivery … While this day is especially difficult as his former producer, we respect his decision and are deeply grateful for his immense contributions to the entire network.”

Fox will rotate anchors in Smith's 3 p.m. slot until a new daytime newscast is announced. Smith was one of the news net's first hires in 1996.

The announcement--Smith let viewers know on his last show--follows a dust-up between Smith and prime time Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson, who complained when Smith defended a comment by a Fox analyst that President Trump may have broken the law. 

Smith and fellow anchor Chris Wallace have had a reputation for delivering straight political news when others on the network stuck closer to party lines.

Related: Center of Attention

“Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News and begin a new chapter," Smith said. "After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged. The opportunities afforded this guy from small town Mississippi have been many. It’s been an honor and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favor. I’ve worked with the most talented, dedicated and focused professionals I know and I’m proud to have anchored their work each day — I will deeply miss them.”

Smith said per his agreement with Fox he won't be reporting anywhere else in the near term. 

Last month, Smith pushed back on the president's claims about a border wall.

The president this week, in a tweeted attack on Fox for not being the go-to Trump channel he had come to expect, included Smith in a list of folks that he said do not "deliver for US anymore."