Chris Wallace leaving Fox News, joining CNN+ streaming service

December 12, 2021
Chris Wallace moderated the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in 2020.


Chris Wallace signed off from his Fox News show Sunday morning with the announcement that it would be his last after 18 years on the network. He’ll join CNN as a weekday anchor for the breaking news outlet’s subscription streaming service, set to debut early next year. 

“This is my final ‘Fox News Sunday,’ ” Wallace, 74, told viewers at the end of his weekly news show. “It is the last time – and I say this with real sadness – we will meet like this.”

Fox News confirmed his departure to USA TODAY, noting that a rotating cast of anchors will fill in for his time slot until a permanent replacement is announced. 

“I am thrilled to join CNN+,” Wallace said in a news release from CNN. “After decades in broadcast and cable news, I am excited to explore the world of streaming. I look forward to the new freedom and flexibility streaming affords in interviewing major figures across the news landscape – and finding new ways to tell stories. As I embark on this adventure, I am honored and delighted to join Jeff Zucker and his great team. I can’t wait to get started.”

The news was shared with CNN employees in an internal memo Sunday shortly before it was announced publicly, CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter said on his show. 

Wallace did not share details during his Fox show about what his next step was, but said he wants to “try something new, to go beyond politics to all the things I’m interested in,” he said. “I’m ready for a new adventure. And I hope you’ll check it out.” 

Wallace concluded: “And so – for the last time, dear friends – that’s it for today. Have a great week. And I hope you’ll keep watching Fox News Sunday.”

Wallace was a veteran broadcast network newsman, working at both ABC and NBC News, before the late Roger Ailes lured him to Fox with the promise of his own Sunday show. Methodical and never showy – in contrast to his father Mike Wallace, the legendary “60 Minutes” reporter – Chris Wallace was known for his exhaustive preparation and willingness to ask hard questions of all guests.

He was the first Fox News personality to moderate a presidential debate, doing it in 2016 and 2020. The debate he moderated last year went off the rails when then-President Donald Trump repeatedly interrupted Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Previously:Chris Wallace says Trump ‘bears the primary responsibility for what happened’ during debate

Wallace generally co-existed with Fox’s opinion side and infrequently took them on publicly, although in 2017 he said it was “bad form” when opinion hosts bashed the media.

“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,” Wallace said Sunday. “It’s been a great ride.”

His announcement even took the guests on his show Sunday by surprise; they were not tipped off ahead of time. 

“It may sound corny, but I feel we’ve built a community here. There’s a lot you can do on Sunday mornings. The fact you’ve chosen to spend this hour with us is something I cherish,” Wallace told his show’s audience.

Wallace was one of a prominent triumvirate of straight news anchors at Fox who offered a contrast to popular opinion hosts such as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. Shepard Smith left in 2019 and is now doing a news show at CNBC. Bret Baier remains at Fox as host of a Washington-based evening news program.

More Fox News:Two Fox contributors quit over Tucker Carlson’s documentary, citing ‘irresponsible’ voices

NPR reported this fall that Wallace and Baier had objected to Fox executives about some of the more strident opinion programming, particularly Carlson’s documentary on the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, “Patriot Purge,” that aired on Fox’s streaming service. Two Fox contributors, Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes, cited that program in choosing to quit the network.

Fox’s statement said it 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.”

Contributing: The Associated Press

Chris Wallace: Five things to know


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