Nobody can predict the future, and neither can Chris Wallace.
The longtime broadcast journalist has opened up about the future of his news career during Common Ground Committee Sunday discussion. When asked by moderator and former news reporter Jacqueline Adams if he had any personal news to share after CNN+ shut down last week, Wallace joked that he had no updates to share.
Wallace replied, “Oh my gosh, Jackie, this just happened on Thursday.” “Give me a few days.”
Wallace was tapped by the online streaming service, which launched on March 29, to anchor the “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace” talk show.
The Emmy-nominated newsmaker left behind his Sunday morning talk show on Fox News, a network he’s been on for 18 years, to take over the party. However, in a shocking turn of events, it was announced on Thursday that the streaming service would be shutting down after just three weeks.
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The decision was made to “discontinue the operations of CNN+ and focus our investments on CNN’s core news gathering operations and in building more CNN Digital,” Chris Licht, the incoming president and CEO of CNN Worldwide, said in a statement Thursday.
“This is not a quality decision; we appreciate all the work, ambition and creativity that has gone into building CNN+, an organization with incredible talent and compelling programming,” Licht said. “But our customers and CNN will be best served with a simpler streaming option.”
Wallace said although his career future is uncertain at the moment, he “will be fine” and that he is more concerned about helping the people who were on his team at CNN+.
“I’m doing pretty well, whether it’s on CNN or somewhere else,” Wallace told Adams. “Honestly, what worries me mostly right now is my team and hundreds of other people because there have been 300 people, I think, who have jobs at CNN+,” Wallace said.
He added, “Some of them have left CNN to go live. Some have left other places, they’ve moved across the country. And so, I think you see a lot of CNN+ broadcasters doing everything they can to protect the people who were on their team and to make sure they get A safe landing at CNN or elsewhere.”
In December 2021, Wallace said he was “happy” to join CNN+’s talent lineup. “After decades of broadcasting and cable news, I’m excited to explore the world of broadcasting,” Wallace said in a CNN press release at the time. “I look forward to the new freedom and flexibility that live broadcasting offers in interviewing key figures across the news landscape – and finding new ways to tell stories.”
Wallace Adams told the streaming service that shutting down the streaming service reflects the growing uncertainty in the streaming world, also pointing to Netflix’s first loss in worldwide subscribers in a decade. “A couple of weeks ago, the livestream was pretty cool,” Wallace said. “Now suddenly flowing into the intensive care unit on life support.”
Wallace was a veteran broadcast network journalist, working for both ABC and NBC News, before the late Roger Ailes lured him to Fox with the promise of his Sunday show. Methodical and never flashy – unlike his father, Mike Wallace, the legendary “60 Minutes” reporter – Wallace was known for his thorough preparation and willingness to ask tough questions to all guests.
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Wallace was one of the notable trio of Fox news anchors who provided a contrast to popular opinion hosts such as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. He generally got along with Fox’s opinion side and rarely took them in public, although he said in 2017 it was “bad form” when opinion hosts criticized the media.
“I have been free to report to the best of my ability, to cover the stories I believe are important, and to hold our country’s leaders to account,” Wallace said during his recent Fox newscast. “It was a wonderful trip.”
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Contributing: Hana Yachroff, Michael Maltese, USA Today; Bill Judikontz, Arizona Republic