Wallace made the surprising announcement of his departure at the end of “Fox News Sunday,” the flagship weekly political show that he has moderated since 2003.
“This is the last time, and I say it with real sadness, we will see each other like this,” Wallace said. He described his time at Fox as a “great journey” and said he was “ready for a new adventure.”
That adventure will take place on CNN, where Wallace will become a host for CNN +, a streaming service launching in early 2022. According to the CNN press release, Wallace will host a Monday through Friday show featuring interviews with creators of news “about politics, business, sports and culture..”
“I am delighted to join CNN +,” Wallace said in a statement. “After decades in broadcasting and cable news, I am excited to explore the world of broadcasting. I look forward to the new freedom and flexibility that broadcasting brings by interviewing top figures in the news landscape and finding new ways to tell stories.” .
CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker said Wallace’s appointment “speaks volumes about our commitment to journalism and CNN +, and we are delighted to have Chris downstairs to help us build the next generation of CNN and news. “.
The 74-year-old Wallace had multiple options as his four-year deal with Fox drew to a close earlier this year. Wallace ultimately decided he didn’t want to renew with Fox, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Numerous Fox employees praised Wallace Sunday and said they were disappointed by the news.
“Sad to see Chris go, he has had an incredible run on ‘Fox News Sunday,'” wrote political anchor-in-chief Bret Baier on Twitter.
Fox praised Wallace and said he will rotate hosts on “Fox News Sunday” until a permanent moderator is appointed.
“We are extremely proud of our journalism and the stellar team that Chris Wallace has been a part of for 18 years,” the network said in a brief statement. “The legacy of ‘Fox News Sunday’ will continue with our star journalists, many of whom will rotate in the role until a permanent presenter is appointed.”
Wallace is known for his tough but fair challenges to both Democratic and Republican politicians. His reputation for questioning members of both parties made him highly respected in journalistic circles, but he often irritated Fox’s audience, who displayed immense loyalty to former President Donald Trump. That was especially true when Wallace called Trump directly, even when he said the former president “participated in the most direct and sustained assault on the free press in our history.”
In recent years, Fox News, which has always leaned to the right, has morphed into a hyperpartisan and right-wing conversational network that regularly pushes conspiracy theories on a wide variety of topics. Even many of the network’s so-called “direct news” anchors have abandoned any pretense of fairness.
The network’s top anchor, Tucker Carlson, has received extraordinary criticism for producing a special report that fuels the misconception that the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol was a “false flag” orchestrated by the federal government. Carlson has also peddled anti-vaccine rhetoric and promoted the racist “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory on his show.