Media

Chris Wallace announces he is leaving Fox News

Longtime “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace announced on Sunday that he is leaving the network, saying he wants to pursue opportunities “beyond politics” and later confirming reports that he is joining CNN’s new streaming service.

“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,” Wallace said at the end of the program.

“Eighteen years ago, the bosses here at Fox promised me they would never interfere with a guest I booked or a question I asked, and they kept that promise. I have been free to report to the best of my ability, to cover the stories I think are important, to hold our country’s leaders to account. It’s been a great ride,” he added.

Wallace also said he wants “to try something new, to go beyond politics to all the things I’m interested in.”

“I’m ready for a new adventure,” he added. “And I hope you’ll check it out.”

Fox News Media said in a statement that the company is “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,” it added.

CNN said in a statement shortly after Wallace’s announcement that he would join the network’s new streaming service early next year to anchor a weekday show in which he would interview figures in politics, business, sports and culture.

Wallace, the son of famed “60 Minutes” reporter Mike Wallace, began his career in broadcast journalism at NBC News in 1975, rising to become the network’s chief White House correspondent.
 
He later worked at ABC News for nearly 15 years before it was announced that he would be joining Fox News in 2003, taking over for former “Fox News Sunday” host Tony Snow.
 
“I was very excited about the idea of coming over to Fox News,” Chris Wallace said in an interview with The Baltimore Sun at the time. “There’s an energy and excitement and optimism about the future that you don’t see elsewhere in television.”

Wallace was known for his even-handed but at times tough questioning of lawmakers from both parties. During his tenure at Fox, he covered five presidential elections and interviewed every president since George H.W. Bush.

In 2020, Wallace moderated the first presidential debate between then-President Trump and then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden, a chaotic melee of relentless interruptions and incoherencies that earned Wallace criticism from viewers for not having control over the event. It prompted the debate commission to instill a “mute” button on the next debate so that the candidates could speak only one at a time.
 
He told The New York Times the day after the debate that it was “a terrible missed opportunity.” 

“I never dreamt that it would go off the tracks the way it did,” he told the newspaper.

Appearing on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program, Wallace said he will “occasionally wake up at night and think, ‘What could I have done better on the night of Sept. 29, 2020?'”

Wallace said Trump had flouted the “honor system” of arriving to the debate having tested negative for COVID-19. Trump announced he and the first lady tested positive three days after the debate, where many of his inner circle sat maskless during the event. 

Despite being 10 to 12 feet away from both candidates during the debate, Wallace said he would have to get tested himself, noting that all three men were in their 70s.

Wallace went up against some of his Fox colleagues to offer skepticism of the network’s coverage of the pandemic during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” in which he encouraged the public to “wear the damn mask and follow the science,” which prompted one of the show’s hosts to proclaim, “Oh my goodness!”

Wallace also reportedly shared his objections to a documentary series by Tucker Carlson that portrayed an alternative story to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that suggested it was a “false flag” operation.

Colleagues and former guests of Wallace reacted with shock upon hearing of his departure.

Fellow longtime Fox News journalist Brit Hume shared a photo of himself and Wallace, saying he was “sad to see him go.”

“Chris Wallace and I have been friends since we covered the House of Representatives together in the late 70’s. I was delighted we ended up together at Fox News, and am sad to see him go. I wish him all the best in his next adventures,” Hume wrote.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who was Wallace’s last guest on “Fox News Sunday,” said he was shocked by the news.

Updated 2:10 p.m.

Tags Chris Wallace Chris Wallace Donald Trump Fox News Fox News Sunday Joe Biden Lindsey Graham Tucker Carlson

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