Savannah Hulsey Pointer, FISM News
Well-known news anchors Chris Wallace and Brian Williams have both made substantial career moves away from their longtime professional homes.
Thursday evening, Williams signed off his network home at NBC after almost three decades reporting the news there, according to Yahoo News. The anchor announced weeks ago that he planned to back away from his career and spend more time with his family.
Wallace, however, announced suddenly on Sunday that he was leaving Fox News after 18 years at the network, reportedly surprising even his fellow panelists, according to Business Insider. His colleagues were “shellshocked” at the announcement, according to the publication. Wallace didn’t just announce his move but that the show he was anchoring was his last episode for the media giant.
“Eighteen years ago, the bosses here at Fox promised me they would never interfere with a guest I booked or a question I asked. And they kept that promise,” Wallace said while making his announcement. “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. It’s been a great ride.”
Business Insider reported that the other panelists didn’t know he was going to announce his departure and Fox News did not immediately respond to the publication’s request for comment on the bombshell announcement.
Fox News did, however, publish a statement later on Sunday saying, “We are 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.”
The former Fox host announced later on Sunday that he was joining CNN+, CNN’s upcoming streaming platform.
“I am thrilled to join CNN+,” Wallace said. “After decades in broadcast and cable news, I am excited to explore the world of streaming,” he said. “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.”
For Williams, the departure was more easily predictable, having spent some time attempting to negotiate a contract without success. The former anchor and editor of “NBC Nightly News” moved in 2016 to host “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” on MSNBC, the show that concluded Thursday night a month after plans for his departure were announced.
“After 28 years of peacock logos on much of what I own, it is my choice now to jump without a net into the great unknown,” the 62-year-old award-winning journalist said in his on-air farewell message.
“The truth is I’m not a liberal or a conservative. I’m an institutionalist. I believe in this place and my love of country I yield to no one,” he told viewers. “But the darkness on the edge of town has spread to the main roads and highways and neighborhoods. It’s now at the local bar, and the bowling alley, at the school board, in the grocery store. And it must be acknowledged and answered for,” Williams continued.
“Grown men and women who swore an oath to our Constitution — elected by their constituents [and] possessing the kinds of college degrees I could only dream of — have decided to join the mob and become something they are not, while hoping we somehow forget who they were. They’ve decided to burn it all down with us inside. That should scare you to no end,” he added.
Williams is one of the most successful news personalities in modern television to have never received a college education. However, a part of his legacy will be that of his 2015 suspension and subsequent removal from from his post as anchor of NBC Nightly News when it was discovered he misrepresented events that occurred when he was a war correspondent in the early 2000s.