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CNN and MSNBC are shaping up to be the two likeliest landing spots for former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, who unexpectedly left the network in October and has been on the cable news sidelines ever since as he waits out a non-compete agreement of unknown length.
On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that Smith has talked to MSNBC president Phil Griffin about potentially joining the network.
But, officially, both camps are staying quiet. Smith’s spokesperson, Chris Giglio, declined comment on Tuesday when asked by The Hollywood Reporter if his client has had conversations with Griffin. An MSNBC spokesperson did not respond to a similar request for comment.
CNN brass has been more open about courting Smith, though it is not yet known when he would actually be able to join another network. “When he’s available, he is somebody who is very talented, and I would be very open to talking to him,” Zucker said on Oct. 24.
Smith’s camp has not explicitly said that he plans to take another television news job, though Giglio said at the time of Smith’s resignation that he is “taking some time off but he is not retiring.”
At a press freedom event in late November, THR heard Smith tell a fellow attendee that “for the first time in 35 years, I’m on the beach.” (Smith politely declined comment when asked for an interview before the event began.)
At Fox News, Smith reportedly made an annual salary of around $15 million, a number that would be way be out of line with what MSNBC news anchors make, according to network insiders. There’s “no way” the network would pay him that much, one said, and another questioned how “serious” Smith’s talks with MSNBC really are.
But, as former Fox News anchor turned MSNBC host Greta Van Susteren put it to THR at the time of Smith’s resignation, at some point “you’ve made enough money, so you don’t need the money.”
Many of Smith’s would-be colleagues at MSNBC have openly praised his willingness to take on President Donald Trump on Fox’s airwaves in the past, most notably morning show hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. “Shep Smith has been the best breaking news anchor of his time,” Scarborough tweeted in October. “There has not been a better news broadcaster over the past decade.”
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