After 23 years with Fox News, long-time anchor Shep Smith announced back in October that he was finally leaving the network.
He’s since been replaced by Bill Hemmer, who debuted “Bill Hemmer Reports” on Monday. If ratings are anything to go by, Hemmer is off to a good start.
Hemmer trounces Smith
The Daily Caller is reporting that some 1.8 million people tuned in at 3 PM to see the first edition of “Bill Hemmer Reports.” Of them, 269,000 were between the ages of 25 and 54 — considered by advertisers to be a crucial demographic.
That represents a substantial jump in viewership from Smith’s tenure: last year, the former host averaged a little below 1.3 million watchers, only 201,000 from 25-54.
Hemmer pledged that his reporting would be “fair,” adding, “I am very happy to start this next chapter with you at home. We won’t solve the world’s issues in an hour, but over time, we will understand them better.”
Hemmer isn’t a new face at Fox, having first been hired at the network in 2005 and was most recently appearing as a host on “America’s Newsroom.”
Smith’s troubled history
Hemmer’s predecessor’s tenure was marked by conflict in the last year, both with one of his fellow network personalities as well as with President Trump.
Smith clashed with fellow Fox host Tucker Carlson over comments one his guests made about Judge Andrew Napolitano. Smith called the remarks a “repugnant” example of someone “attacking our colleague, who’s here to offer legal assessments on our air, in our work home.” What’s more, he criticized Carlson for not “challenging” what was said.
Carlson’s response was to mock Smith’s outrage and then inviting the same guest back for a second time to reiterate his comments.
Smith’s contentious relationship with the president was even more well-publicized, criticizing Trump even as Carlson and evening host Judge Jeanine Pirro praised him.
For his part, Trump had little use for Smith, on one occasion tweeting “Watching Fake News CNN is better than watching Shepard Smith.” He also accused the anchor of having “the lowest-rated show” on his network.
Earlier this month, the Daily Beast reported that Smith was being considered for a position at MSNBC but that no final decisions had been made.