What Chris Wallace’s big move says about streaming at CNN and Fox

No longer tied to the news division’s fortunes, Chris Wallace has left Fox News for CNN’s prime-time lineup What Chris Wallace’s big move says about streaming at CNN and Fox While Chris Wallace leaving…

What Chris Wallace's big move says about streaming at CNN and Fox

No longer tied to the news division’s fortunes, Chris Wallace has left Fox News for CNN’s prime-time lineup

What Chris Wallace’s big move says about streaming at CNN and Fox

While Chris Wallace leaving Fox News after 43 years signals the death of cable news, it is also the transfer of a network’s biggest star from Fox to CNN.

Wallace announced on Friday that he is leaving Fox News for CNN’s prime-time lineup of Wolf Blitzer on at 8pm and Anderson Cooper on at 9pm.

For a longtime anchor who has been associated with both the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and 60 Minutes, leaving for a higher profile network is no surprise. Perhaps what makes it bolder is that Wallace is leaving Fox for CNN in prime time.

The move means Wallace will depart Fox News after a run of 23 years at the network, and it is a stark sign of the shift that the first glimpse of a traditional Fox News host migrating elsewhere to another channel signals.

Deadline said that Wallace is being replaced on Fox News by Jedediah Bila, a former co-host of The Five who has been off the network for nearly two years because of illness. Wallace is filling in while Bila recovers from surgery for an undisclosed condition.

For months Wallace has been featured on Fox News’ prime-time lineup in separate 10pm slots on weeknights, with anchors including Bret Baier at 6pm and Bret Baier at 10pm.

According to interviews in February, both Wallace and Baier said they made themselves available to move into CNN’s prime-time slot to give cable news a higher profile during Trump’s first months in office. The move reflects a growing effort to focus news coverage and politics on CNN.

Even before his departure from Fox News, Wallace has the most visible weeknight career in cable news. He co-anchored The O’Reilly Factor and Wallace Minutes for three decades. He also anchored Fox News Sunday for nine years, playing the role of the network’s lead news presenter for decades.

“[Wallace] has been the face of Fox News News for many years as it has evolved into today’s news powerhouse,” Bill Shine, co-president of Fox News, said in a statement on Friday. “Despite his departure, Chris has been instrumental in building that network into a destination for journalism and commentary that is tops in cable. We wish him the best of luck and are grateful for his many contributions.”

The competition to capture prime-time audiences – on cable news channels and broadcasters alike – is fierce, and Wallace’s new affiliation with CNN puts him in a coveted and elevated place.

For years, CNN has feuded with Fox News over the network’s editorial coverage, with the cable news giant moving frequently from Fox News to other networks, and putting its anchor night after night on Fox News. The strategy of the evening programs of Don Lemon, Anderson Cooper and John Berman ultimately has paid off.

CNN won 4.7 million viewers aged 25-54 in the last quarter of 2017, compared with MSNBC, which had just 1.4 million, and Fox News, which had just shy of 2 million, according to Nielsen.

CNN’s prime-time coverage of CNN, 60 Minutes and Rachel Maddow was top-rated among all news channels during the quarter, according to Nielsen. Maddow’s political show was the most watched nightly show in cable news.

Until about a year ago, Wallace was the network’s biggest name. Then, he became the last of the Fox News original stars to leave, joining Brit Hume, Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Susteren, who all left Fox News in 2017.

CNN’s Blitzer is consistently the top-rated cable news prime-time host.

The departure of Fox News’ CNN rivals shows that after two years of tumult at the network, in which both it and the Trump administration have brought unprecedented attention to cable news, CNN and MSNBC are back on top in prime time.

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On Monday, MSNBC reported 4.5 million viewers aged 25-54 for the evening (with CNN coming in second with 3.7 million). Fox News was the only network to lose viewers; other networks made modest gains.

Among those who watch CNN, 91% were watching in prime time, compared with 73% for Fox News.

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