In a stunning announcement Sunday morning, veteran Fox News journalist Chris Wallace announced he is leaving Fox News and will join CNN+ — the CNN streaming service that will launch in 2022.
Wallace first announced he is leaving Fox News during his “Fox News Sunday” show. He told viewers, “After 18 years — this is my final ‘Fox News Sunday.’ It is the last time, and I say this with real sadness, we will meet like this.”
He said his time at Fox News was a “great ride,” and said his bosses there never stopped him from booking any guest he wanted or asking any questions he wanted. However, he said it was time for a “new adventure.”
Shortly after that announcement, CNN announced Wallace was joining CNN+. In an announcement, Wallace said, “I am thrilled to join CNN+. After decades in broadcast and cable news, I am excited to explore the world of streaming. I look forward to the new freedom and flexibility streaming affords in interviewing major figures across the news landscape — and finding new ways to tell stories. As I embark on this adventure, I am honored and delighted to join (CNN president) Jeff Zucker and his great team. I can’t wait to get started.”
Zucker, in a statement, said, “It is not often that a news organization gets the opportunity to bring someone of Chris Wallace’s caliber on board. He is as fine a journalist as there is in our business. This speaks volumes about our commitment to journalism and CNN+, and we are thrilled to have Chris on the ground floor of helping us build the next generation of CNN and news.”
Wallace will host a daily weekday program on CNN+ and CNN said it will “feature interviews with newsmakers across politics, business, sports and culture.”
This is a tough blow for Fox News. Wallace was considered the network’s most fair-minded journalist and was the opposite of the strong — and, some would claim, biased — opinions heard on the network, particularly during prime time. Wallace gave the network some credibility when it came to covering national politics.
In a statement, Fox News said, “We are extremely proud of our journalism and the stellar team that Chris Wallace was a part of for 18 years. The legacy of FOX News Sunday will continue with our star journalists, many of whom will rotate in the position until a permanent host is named.”
Wallace joined Fox News in 2003 after working at ABC News for 14 years. A year ago, Wallace received the Poynter Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism.
Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer. For the latest media news and analysis, delivered free to your inbox each and every weekday morning, sign up for his Poynter Report newsletter.