The News with Shepard Smith premieres on CNBC Sept. 30, the hour-long program, which Smith called “a full-plate newscast,” in the 7 p.m. slot. CNBC described it as “providing deep, non-partisan coverage and perspective on the day’s most important stories,” going “beyond the headlines to give its viewers sharp context into the world around them in real-time.”
Smith spent 23 years at Fox News Channel, where he was chief general news anchor. Topics covered on the new show mostly fall into politics, COVID, the information age, social justice, incoming inequality and climate. Journalists from the NBCUniversal stable--NBC News, Sky News, Telemundo, owned and affiliated stations--will contribute. Correspondents include Eamon Javers, Jane Wells and Kayla Tausche.
“We seek the truth, find the truth and tell the truth and let chips fall where they may,” Smith told B&C. “We speak truth to power. We cover all the big stories that are part of our lives right now.”
Whether it’s COVID, social justice or climate, there’s a giant story or two every darn day. “We want to find the truth about those things as we know it, and tell viewers what we don’t know,” he said. “Sometimes what we don’t know is just as important as what we do.”
Smith said The News seeks to “find that hero in the carnage”--the person who saves others in the wildfires, the researcher responsible for the breakthrough in the pandemic.
What The News won’t do is spend a lot of time on what newsmakers are tweeting. There won’t be opinions or punditry either. “There’s plenty of that — I don’t hate on anybody for it,” he said. “But it’s not what we’re going to do.”
There is, of course, plenty of that at Fox News. Smith did not refer to his old employer by name, calling it “old co.” a few times instead.
Smith is portrayed in Brian Stelter’s new book Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth as an essential news-gatherer and fact checker at Fox News, at times contradicting the pundits to set the record straight for viewers. Smith called Hoax an interesting read, but did not say anything more about it, other than that he did not participate with Stelter on the book.
Smith’s news sources include The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Washington Examiner and The New York Post. “I’m a consumer as the sun comes up and I’m still consuming when the sun goes down,” he said. “I go to trusted sources and when I see something that does not make sense to me, I’m fortunate to have research people that I send things to and say, is this right? We begin reporting on that if it’s something we as a team want to do.”
Smith said The News had over 2,000 applicants for 27 positions. “We took that as an enormous compliment, and an enormous challenge to find the very best ones in the bunch,” he said.
Broadcasting & Cable Newsletter
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.