Fox News is working quickly to slide a replacement program into Shepard Smith's daily 3 p.m. slot in light of his sudden exit from the network.
For now, the solution is to cycle through existing network anchors, including Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, Shannon Bream, Brit Hume, Bill Hemmer and John Roberts, Variety reports. Come 2020, a designated anchor will be selected and announced as the new official face of the hour.
"We aren’t rushing into it," Fox News president Jay Wallace said told the outlet, adding that the network needs to "figure out what works for these times," possibly alluding to the political landscape.
Producers will consider current internal news personalities as well as possible newcomers, he said.
Smith had built a reputation as one of the network's few nonpartisan newspeople. Most of Fox's best-known pundits are openly right-leaning commentators. During his tenure, Smith found himself at odds with several colleagues, perhaps most notably Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, both steadfast defenders of President Trump at every turn.
Wallace indicated that he no longer wants his talent to publicly express discontentment about each other. "Emotions can run high," he said. "Our guidance has always been to deal with this – if you have a problem with someone, pick up the phone. These are sharp people. Why do you want to parade this in front of everyone? Our audience doesn’t want to see it."
But it's not just Smith who has taken his Fox News counterparts to task. Infighting has become a staple of cable news, with many shows across networks descending into yelling matches that breed further resentment online. It's not uncommon to see Twitter feuds between pundits, and the president himself is a noted fan of blasting insults across the platform.
Among the recent targets of President Trump's outrage is Fox News itself: Trump was unhappy to see a recent network poll that found a majority of Americans supported impeachments inquiries against him.
"It is an interesting time for us, because of the president and what he has done," Wallace said.