No one can predict the future, and neither can Chris Wallace.
The long-time broadcast journalist opened up about the future of his news career during a panel discussion in the Common Ground committee on Sunday. Asked by moderator and former news correspondent Jacqueline Adams if he had any personal news to share after the closure of CNN + last week, Wallace joked that he had no updates to share.
“My God, Jackie, it just happened on Thursday,” Wallace replied. “Give me a few days.”
Wallace had been tapped by the streaming service, which was launched on March 29, to anchor the talk show “Who̵[ads1]7;s Talking to Chris Wallace”.
The Emmy-nominated newsmaker left his talk show Sunday morning on Fox News, a network he would have been on for 18 years, to record the concert. In a shocking course of events, however, it was announced on Thursday that the power service would be shut down after only three weeks.
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Chris Licht, incoming chairman of the board and CEO of CNN Worldwide, said in a statement Thursday that the decision was made “to halt operations of CNN + and focus our investment on CNN’s core news collection operations and build on CNN Digital.”
“This is not a quality decision; we appreciate all the work, ambition and creativity that went into building CNN +, an organization with amazing talent and compelling programming,” said Licht. “But our customers and CNN will be best served by a simpler power choice.”
Wallace said that although his professional future is uncertain at the moment, he will “manage” and that he is more concerned with helping the people who worked on his team at CNN +.
“I’m in great shape, whether it’s CNN or somewhere else,” Wallace told Adams. “Honestly, what I’m most worried about right now, and very, is my team and hundreds of other people because there were 300 people, I think, who had jobs on CNN +,” Wallace said.
He added: “Some of them had left CNN to go streaming. Some of them had left elsewhere, moved across the country. So I think you see that many of the anchors on CNN + are doing everything they can to protect the people who worked on their team and to make sure they either get a safe landing on CNN or somewhere else. “
In December 2021, Wallace said he was “excited” to join the CNN + talent series. “After decades of broadcasting and cable news, I’m excited to explore the streaming world,” Wallace said in a CNN press release at the time. “I look forward to the new freedom and flexibility streaming provides when it comes to interviewing major figures across the news landscape – and finding new ways to tell stories.”
Wallace told Adams that the shutdown of the streaming service reflects the growing uncertainty in the streaming world, and also cites Netflix’s first loss of worldwide subscribers in a decade. “Two weeks ago, streaming was king,” Wallace said. “Now suddenly streaming is in an intensive care unit with life support.”
Wallace was a veteran newsman for the broadcast network, working for 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 flashy – unlike his father Mike Wallace, the legendary “60 Minutes” reporter – Wallace was known for his exhaustive preparation and willingness to ask difficult questions to all guests.
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Wallace was one of a prominent triumvirate of Fox news anchors offering a contrast to popular opinion hosts such as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. He generally existed with Fox’s opinion page and rarely took them publicly, although in 2017 he said it was “bad form” when opinion polls basketball media.
“I have been free to report to the best of my ability, to cover the stories I think are important, to hold the country’s leaders accountable,” Wallace said during his latest news broadcast on Fox. “It’s been a great trip.”
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Contributors: Hannah Yasharoff, Michelle Maltais, USA TODAY; Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic