Chris Wallace discusses CNN+ shutdown and his professional future
No one can predict the future, and neither can Chris Wallace.
The longtime journalist opened up about the future of his news career during a Common Ground Committee roundtable discussion on Sunday. When asked by moderator and former news correspondent 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.
“God, Jackie, it happened on Thursday,” Wallace replied. “Give me a few days.”
Wallace had been 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 reporter left behind his Sunday morning talk show on Fox News, a network he reportedly stayed on for 18 years, to return to the gig. However, in a shocking turn of events, it was announced on Thursday that the streaming service would shut down after just three weeks.
CNN+ closes its doors, just three weeks after the launch of the new streaming service
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Chris Licht, the new chairman and CEO of CNN Worldwide, said in a statement Thursday that the decision has been made “to cease operations of CNN+ and focus our investments on CNN’s core newsgathering operations and building CNN Digital”.
“This is not a decision about quality; we appreciate all the hard work, ambition and creativity that has gone into building CNN+, an organization with tremendous talent and compelling programming,” Licht said. “But our customers and CNN will be better served with easier streaming choice.”
Wallace said that while his professional future is uncertain at the moment, he “will be fine” and is more concerned with helping the people who worked on his team at CNN+.
“I’m in good shape whether it’s on CNN or anywhere else,” Wallace told Adams. “Frankly, what concerns me the most right now, and very much, is my team and hundreds of other people because there were 300 people, I think, who had jobs at CNN+,” said Wallace.
He added: “Some of them had left CNN to go to streaming. Some of them had left other places, moved across the country. And so, I think you see a lot of CNN anchors + do everything they can to protect the people who worked on their team and to make sure they get a safe landing at CNN or elsewhere.”
In December 2021, Wallace said he was “thrilled” to join CNN+’s talent lineup. “After decades in broadcast and cable news, I’m excited to explore the world of streaming,” Wallace said in a CNN press release at the time. “I look forward to the new freedom and flexibility streaming offers to interview major figures in the news landscape – and find new ways to tell stories.”
Wallace told Adams that the streaming service’s shutdown reflects growing uncertainty in the streaming world, also citing Netflix’s first loss of global subscribers in a decade. “Two weeks ago, streaming was king,” Wallace said. “Now streaming is suddenly in an intensive care unit on life support.”
Wallace was a veteran broadcast network reporter, 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 showy — unlike his father Mike Wallace, the legendary “60 Minutes” reporter — Wallace was known for his thorough preparation and willingness to ask tough questions of all guests.
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Wallace was part of a prominent triumvirate of Fox news anchors who provided a contrast to popular opinion formers such as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. He has generally coexisted with Fox’s opinion side and rarely addressed them publicly, although in 2017 he said it was “bad form” when opinion leaders bashed the media.
“I’ve been free to report to the best of my abilities, to cover the stories I think are important, to hold the leaders of our country to account,” Wallace said during his final Fox newscast. “It’s been a great ride.”
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Contributors: Hannah Yasharoff, Michelle Maltais, USA TODAY; Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic
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