As America gears up to watch non-stop coverage of the upcoming 2020 presidential election, major cable news networks are already apparently planning out how to deliver that news to their loyal viewers.
According to Daily Caller, MSNBC could be in the midst of a “major shake-up” that would involved shuffling around some of their top network talent into new time slots. The network intends to “shed ratings dead weight in the lead-up to the election.”
In addition, former Fox News daytime star Shepard Smith is reportedly in talks with the network to potentially fill one of the upcoming vacant slots when his non-compete agreement with Fox News expires.
According to the report, Smith has already been in contact with MSNBC President Phil Griffin about potentially signing on to deliver the news on their network. An anonymous MSNBC insider reportedly said that they were “unclear what slot” Smith would occupy should he join the network, but the insider revealed that MSNBC does “want him in primetime.”
“We are well aware [Jeff] Zucker [president of CNN] is also pursuing him, as are a number of the networks,” the insider reportedly told The Daily Beast.
Smith, who joined Fox News at its inception in 1996, departed the network earlier this year in a surprise ending to his last show. At the time, he was on his seventh year of anchoring the daytime show, Shepard Smith Reports, and was essentially in charge of the network’s breaking news division.
BREAKING: A major shakeup could happen at MSNBC with Chuck Todd's show moving to a morning slot. Execs are also talking with Fox News escapee Shepard Smith https://t.co/BKrbWQtC2S
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) January 14, 2020
Smith was almost always the first on the network to report on mass shootings and other large breaking news events, which, despite him not being popular with many of the network’s viewers for his political leanings, provided him with consistently high ratings in his daytime slot.
Before Smith’s departure, he was involved in a dust-up with fellow Fox News host Tucker Carlson just days before he left the network.
President Donald Trump also criticized Smith and the same held true when it was announced that Smith quit the network in October. Trump jabbed the anchor for possibly quitting over “bad ratings,” but also wished Smith well in the same tweet.
Smith’s non-compete agreement with Fox News was originally reported to be at least one year, though there’s no further confirmation on when he might be eligible to work at MSNBC or another Fox News rival.