Ex-Fox anchor Shep Smith returns to TV with fewer viewers

Long-time television anchor Shep Smith left his position at Fox News last year following heated disputes with his more Trump-friendly colleagues.

Since then, Smith has found a new role at CNBC. However, new ratings data suggests that he’s having a hard time getting people to tune in. 

Blah ratings

The Hill reported on Friday that according to Nielsen Media Research, Smith averaged 322,000 viewers over the course of his first week at the network.

Those ratings represent a substantial downturn from his Sept. 30 debut of The News with Shepard Smith, when he managed to draw in some 373 television watchers. And it’s a far cry from his typical audience at Fox News, where he regularly drew over 1,000,000 viewers for his afternoon show, Variety reported.

“On Oct. 1, Smith registered 321,000 viewers, followed by 331,000 on Oct. 2, 266,000 on Oct. 5 and 321,000 on Wednesday,” The Hill stated. It also noted that Smith is being beaten out by Fox Business personality Lou Dobbs during the 7:00 p.m. weekday time slot.

Smith struck an upbeat tone in an August statement, saying, “In my more than 30 years in journalism, there has never been a better or more critical time to launch a non-partisan, fact-based evening newscast.”

“From the ongoing pandemic to the election and the economy, the mission of this program is to cover the most important news of the day with depth and clarity,” he went on to promise. “Each night, we will be bold, we will be direct and we will deliver the truth to our viewers.”

Smith clashed with Trump, Tucker Carlson

Smith stood out at Fox News for his habit of directing criticism at President Donald Trump, something that irritated conservative viewers. At times, it drew a sharp response from the president himself.

“Watching Fake News CNN is better than watching Shepard Smith, the lowest rated show on @FoxNews,” Trump tweeted in August of last year. “Actually, whenever possible, I turn to @OANN!”

Smith also found conflict with fellow Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson. Last fall, he criticized Carlson for allowing guest Joseph diGenova to take shots at Judge Andrew Napolitano, something he called “repugnant.”

Carlson didn’t take Smith’s comments lying down, and brought diGenova back on the program to address them. “Not clear if that was you or me but someone was repugnant,” Carlson told diGenova.

After saying that “unlike some daytime hosts, I’m not very partisan,” Carlson had diGenova reiterate his earlier comments.

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