Longtime Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer, who currently co-hosts the three-hour America’s Newsroom show in the morning, has been tapped to replace Shepard Smith as host of the network’s 3 p.m. news hour.
Hemmer will start his new afternoon news show on Jan. 20, serving also as the network’s breaking news leader.
The hour has been hosted by a rotating group of Fox News personalities since Smith abruptly resigned in October.
“As a journalist, l am extremely grateful for this opportunity,” Hemmer said Monday in a statement. “2020 will undoubtedly be a year of great significance. Leading our breaking news division with a signature hour has enormous value to me, personally, and to our audience. We’ve got a fantastic team here and I am excited to get to work.”
Said Fox News president Jay Wallace, “Bill is an incredible newsman and his ability to cut to the heart of the story while humanizing major events has made him a standout talent in news. As we start gearing up for the 2020 election, we are thrilled to have him lead our news division through what will sure to be an eventful year.”
Hemmer had been rumored as a potential fit as Smith’s replacement. A veteran of CNN, he has been one of Fox News’ “top breaking news anchors” since joining the network more than a decade ago.
Other possible candidates to replace Smith on a full-time basis included Fox News chief national correspondent Ed Henry and Trace Gallagher, the network’s chief breaking news correspondent and the person who served as Smith’s initial fill-in.
In November, Fox News Reporting, the show that temporarily replaced Smith’s, drew an average of 1.8 million total viewers and 274,000 in the 25-to-54 demo prized by advertisers, half of the 3.6 million total viewers that opinion leader Sean Hannity drew in primetime over the same time period.
While Smith was a frequent target of President Donald Trump’s ire, Hemmer has not been. He has only attracted Trump’s attention on Twitter once, when the then-presidential candidate tweeted in July 2016, “Bill Hemmer of @FoxNews was very nice in explaining the excitement and energy in the arena. More than in past years.”
On Monday afternoon, Hemmer’s appointment was cheered on by some of his Fox News colleagues.
“He is truly one of the best in the business!” wrote news anchor Shannon Bream on Twitter. “@BillHemmer is a good egg inside and out. Bravo!”
“Congrats to my friend and colleague @BillHemmer,” wrote anchor Bret Baier. “Very well deserved.”
The appointment was first reported by Mediaite.