Instead of a doing a fixed hour of straight news amid the commentators that front most of the Fox News shows, Smith's reporting will be "weaved in," as he says, throughout the day when necessary. Smith will be in charge of what he calls "a parallel editorial team" that will be ready to go on the air at any time when news is breaking, which means Fox News commentators can stick to what they do and not have to try to be objective journalists reporting a story.
Smith loves the move initiated by Fox News chairman Roger Ailes. "I don't know if I would have stayed around to read the TelePrompTer for three more years," says the newsman, who signed a new deal with the channel he's been with since it launched in 1996.
The immediacy of the new role is what appeals to Smith. He says his signature signoff "And now you know the news" on Fox Report no longer resonates in an age when most people can get information all day on their mobile devices. "A lot of them already know the news," he says.
With his own studio and producers, Smith will keep his 3 p.m. hour, to be renamed Shepard Smith Reporting, that will showcase the newsgathering of his new unit. The departure of Fox Report — which does not yet have an end date — clears the way for what will be a widely anticipated revamp of the primetime line-up. Megyn Kelly is expected to take over the 9 p.m. hour, with Sean Hannity moving to 7 p.m. Those changes could be announced as soon as next week.