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Geraldo Heads to Afghanistan, for Fox News

Geraldo Rivera is leaving CNBC to join Fox News Channel as a war correspondent.

Rivera will ship out on Nov. 19 for Afghanistan, where he'll join Fox News reporter Steve Harrigan, a reporter recently recruited from Cable News Network. Rivera's last day at CNBC will be Nov. 16.

Rivera is a huge hire for Fox News, which recently saw anchor Paula Zahn jump ship to CNN.

"I'm a reporter, and America's fight against terror is the biggest story of our times," Rivera said in a prepared statement. "And as much as I loved my CNBC program, I can't stay anchored to that desk any longer."

Fox News CEO Roger Ailes said Rivera asked CNBC to release him from his contract after the network wouldn't allow him to leave the Rivera Live
studio to cover the war in Afghanistan.

"Geraldo is an outdoor guy — not an indoor guy. He was not given that opportunity at NBC," Ailes said.

Rivera previously worked for Ailes, when Ailes was CEO of CNBC — a post he left in 1996 to launch Fox News Channel.

The events of Sept. 11 caused Rivera to reassess what he does for a living, he told CNBC viewers at the close of his Nov. 1 program Thursday night. "I'm feeling more patriotic than at any time in my life — itching for justice, or maybe just revenge," Rivera said.

CNBC will now expand its business news programming into primetime after Rivera leaves, spokesman Paul Capelli said. "We're going to use this as an opportunity to execute on our long-term plan," he added.

CNBC will add a new business program in the 8 p.m. hour and reschedule Hardball with Chris Matthews
and The News with Brian Williams, Capelli said. Rivera Live
is saddled between Hardball, which currently runs at 8 p.m., and Williams' show, which runs at 10 p.m.

Rivera Live
was CNBC's top-rated primetime program in October, averaging a 0.7 rating and 553,000 households. It topped Hardball, which pulled a 0.5 rating and 436,000 households, and The News with Brian Williams, which posted a 0.6 rating and 512,000 households.