MSNBC is reportedly in talks to sign former Fox News host Shepard Smith, who could take Chuck Todd’s 5pm primetime slot on the network.
According to a report from the Daily Beast, several sources at NBC claimed the company is looking to acquire Smith, who left Fox News in October. The sources noted there may be a “major 2020 shakeup” at the network, and could include moving Chuck Todd’s MTP Daily to a morning time slot and fill the 5 p.m. EST hour with an anchor who can drive higher ratings before the 2020 election is in full swing.
MSNBC staff are reportedly “batting around several options” as they move to “shed ratings dead weight in the lead-up to the election.”
Smith met with MSNBC President Phil Griffin to discuss potential roles within the network after his non-compete agreement with Fox News expires, though no final decisions have been made. An NBC source also claimed that CNN is looking to hire Smith but that his contract could be a very expensive acquisition, The Daily Beast reported.
An MSNBC insider told the outlet that it was “unclear what slot” the former Fox News anchor would fill, but the network does “want him in primetime.”
“We are well aware [Jeff] Zucker [president of CNN] is also pursuing him, as are a number of the networks,” the insider said.
One insider called Todd’s ratings performance “a hammock” at 5 p.m., performing poorly compared to preceding and succeeding shows anchored by Nicolle Wallace and Ari Melber.
Smith’s lengthy tenure at Fox News became rocky at the end as his frequent criticisms of President Donald Trump drew the ire of both the president and his supporters. “Shepard Smith Reporting” ended its seven-year run in October with an on-air announcement from the anchor, who had been at Fox News in various capacities since its inception in 1996.