CNBC is canceling the daily evening show hosted by Shepard Smith, ending the network’s foray into general interest news led by the former Fox News anchor.
Mr. Smith’s final show will be later this month, according to a memo sent to employees on Thursday by KC Sullivan, CNBC’s president.
The decision to cancel Mr. Smith’s show, “The News with Shepard Smith,” comes as Mr. Sullivan, who took over in September, reassesses programming across the channel while juggling the industrywide decline of traditional television and the emerging business of streaming.
CNBC plans to replace Mr. Smith’s 7 p.m. show with a program more sharply focused on business and finance, Mr. Sullivan wrote. Mr. Sullivan said CNBC was trying to find other jobs at the network for those who worked on Mr. Smith’s show.
“Change is difficult, particularly when talented, good people are impacted,” Mr. Sullivan wrote.
Mr. Smith did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The decision to cancel Mr. Smith’s show is the first major programming decision made by Mr. Sullivan since he took over for Mark Hoffman, who led CNBC for nearly two decades. After assessing the network’s performance, Mr. Sullivan has decided to hone CNBC’s focus on business coverage and steer it away from the general interest news that is widely available elsewhere, according to two people familiar with his thinking who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.
Mr. Smith joined CNBC with great fanfare in 2020 after more than two decades at Fox News, where he was a reliably nonpartisan presence at a network known for its conservative prime-time commentary. Mr. Smith clashed with Tucker Carlson, who hosts one of Fox News’ most popular shows, and he was occasionally mocked by former President Donald J. Trump for his down-the-middle coverage.
“The News with Shepard Smith” is one of CNBC’s more expensive programs to produce. The show has around 20 dedicated employees, and Mr. Smith had a multiyear contract with the network.
Mr. Smith’s show outperformed other programs on the network, including “Mad Money with Jim Cramer,” according to ratings data from Nielsen. But his show struggled to outperform competing shows from Fox News, MSNBC and CNN in the time slot.
The decision to cancel Mr. Smith’s show comes as CNBC’s parent company, Comcast, is weighing big programming changes in its NBCUniversal division. The company has said that it is considering giving its 10 p.m. hour back to local stations, a move that threatens to upend the late-night programming schedule that has been a staple at NBC for decades.
Mr. Sullivan’s plans to focus on business and finance include “CNBC Investing Club with Jim Cramer” and CNBC Pro, services that offer subscribers additional tips and stories for a monthly fee.