Longtime Fox News anchor Chris Wallace continues to struggle to find his footing at CNN, which he joined in 2022 after almost 20 years with Fox, pulling in just over 400,000 viewers in the debut of his new show, Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace.
Wallace’s new program reached 401,000 viewers, according to Nielsen ratings, down 29 percent from the average. The veteran newsman drew in 44,000 viewers in the all-important, advertiser-prized 25-to-54 demographic, down 64 percent from the average program.
At Fox, Wallace was among the most recognizable personalities, hosting Fox News Sunday from 2003 until late last year. Wallace moderated the third and final presidential debated between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in 2016, as well as the first debate between Trump and Joe Biden in 2020.
Wallace was initially meant to become one of the faces of CNN+, his new employer’s streaming service, but the venture was shuttered in April, the same month that it launched. Who’s Talking was subsequently redone to appear weekly on CNN and HBO Max, instead of four days a week on the defunct CNN+.
Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy, Fox’s program opposite Wallace on Sunday, garnered 1.3 million viewers. Wallace reportedly left the network in part over disagreement with other network personalities’ approach to covering Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, culminating in the January 6 Capitol riot.
According to the Associated Press, he turned down a contract extension and pay bump to join CNN.
During his last episode of Fox News Sunday, Wallace professed to be excited to “try something new, to go beyond politics to all the things I’m interested in,” but was careful to note that at Fox, he had “been free to report to the best of my ability, to cover the stories I think are important, to hold our country’s leaders to account.”
CNN has continued to restructure its programming since new CEO Chris Licht took the reins earlier this year. Since Licht’s arrival, CNN has moved on from longtime media critic Brian Stelter, moved Don Lemon out of his longtime nighttime slot to the morning, and handed Jake Tapper a spot in primetime.