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A former Fox News host, as well as a disgraced former NBC News anchor who was relegated to a late-night slot on MSNBC, are being considered as potential replacements for former CNN host Chris Cuomo, who was fired in December.
Chris Wallace, who left Fox News to take a job at CNN+, the network’s new streaming service, is under consideration as is Brian Williams, who was suspended as the NBC Nightly News anchor in 2015 after he was outed for a false story about coming under fire in a helicopter early in the Iraq war in 2003.
“Former Fox News anchor Chris Wallace is one name being floated internally to take the key 9 p.m. slot,” reported The Daily Beast. Wallace ended his 18-year stint at Fox News Channel last December, just days after the network cut ties with Cuomo.
“I am thrilled to join CNN+. After decades in broadcast and cable news, I am excited to explore the world of streaming,” Wallace announced in a statement within days of leaving Fox. “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.”
At the time, outside observers blasted Wallace for leaving the top-rated cable news network for one that is floundering in viewership ratings and has been for months. That includes top talker Howard Stern.
“I always thought he was a level-headed guy. The guy actually pulled it off. I used to watch him on Fox News and go, ‘How does he put up with this sh*t?’” Stern said, according to Mediate. “I gotta tell ya: People don’t watch CNN, who the hell is going to pay for CNN+? Are they out of their mind? CNN+, I mean what is that? Regular CNN isn’t enough?”
“Good luck being seen on that thing,” Stern noted further, going on to argue that he did not believe many people would pay a monthly stipend to watch an extension of CNN’s network, even if it featured Wallace. “I mean I like Chris Wallace, but I’m not paying a monthly service fee.”
Stern then speculated that it was likely a money thing that drew Wallace to CNN+.
“He was on Fox News for 18 years, I’m sure they’re pissed because they were pretty loyal to him. They probably weren’t coming up with the dough re mi. I mean they probably offered him some good money,” he said.
Others said they believe that Wallace would be more a fit at CNN.
“Maybe he can slide into the 9 pm slot at CNN and talk endlessly about his two favorite subjects: white supremacy and global warming,” said radio host Gerry Callahan. “Good riddance to this fraud.”
The other “name that continues to pop up” to replace Cuomo “is Brian Williams,” The Daily Beast noted further. Williams hosted MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour” for five years until he retired in December after spending 28 years at NBC.
“Following much reflection, and after 28 years with the company, I have decided to leave NBC upon the completion of my current contract in December,” he said. “I have been truly blessed. I have been allowed to spend almost half of my life with one company. NBC is a part of me and always will be.
“This is the end of a chapter and the beginning of another,” Williams noted at the time. “There are many things I want to do, and I’ll pop up again somewhere.”
A source close to Williams has said he “thinks he has one more swing at bat” at a major network.
“He still views himself as a world-class, primetime anchor. Whatever his new job is, it is not going to be at 11 o’clock,” the source told the New York Post. “This is his last swing at-bat. He’s going to do this right.”
Speculation about who will replace Cuomo, who actually had the top-rated nightly prime-time show, for what that’s worthy, comes ahead of the network being taken over by Chris Licht, who has served as executive producer of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”