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new chapter

Shep Smith abruptly leaves Fox News

After more than two decades with the network, Shepard Smith is leaving Fox News.

The network announced Friday its longtime anchor is leaving after 23 years, with Friday's show being his last.

Smith in a statement said he asked Fox News to allow him to leave to "begin a new chapter" and that "after requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged." His time slot will be filled by a "series of rotating anchors" until a replacement is set, Fox News said. Under the agreement he reached with the network, Smith said Friday he "won't be reporting elsewhere, at least in the near future."

This announcement came as a massive shock, especially considering, as The Hollywood Reporter's Alex Weprin notes, he just signed a new multi-year contract in 2018. Even Fox News' Neil Cavuto said on the air Friday he was "a little stunned" by the news.

In recent years, Smith has been a frequent skeptic of President Trump on the network, quick to offer fact-checks that put him at odds with many of his colleagues, especially those in prime-time. This has frequently drawn Trump's ire, and the president just yesterday complained about Smith in a tweet. Shortly after Trump's complaints, Attorney General William Barr and media mogul Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the Fox Corporation, reportedly had a private meeting, though it's unclear what the two discussed.

"It's been an honor and my pleasure," Smith said at the end of his final show. "Even in our currently polarized nation, it's my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive."

You can watch his farewell below: Brendan Morrow