Approximately two months after anchor Shepard Smith surprised audiences by departing Fox News, Bill Hemmer was announced as his replacement in the 3 p.m. EST hour on the conservative-leaning cable news network.
Fox News' President and Executive Editor Jay Wallace said in a news release that Hemmer will depart his 9 a.m. time slot alongside Sandra Smith on "America's Newsroom." The new show will be titled "Bill Hemmer Reports."
“Bill is an incredible newsman and his ability to cut to the heart of the story while humanizing major events has made him a standout talent in news," Wallace said in an emailed statement. "As we start gearing up for the 2020 election, we are thrilled to have him lead our news division through what will sure to be an eventful year.”
Hemmer said, “As a journalist, l am extremely grateful for this opportunity. 2020 will undoubtedly be a year of great significance. Leading our breaking news division with a signature hour has enormous value to me, personally, and to our audience. We’ve got a fantastic team here, and I am excited to get to work.”
Smith announced his resignation Oct. 11. He said his departure was voluntary.
"The opportunities afforded this guy from small-town Mississippi have been many," he said. "It’s been an honor and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favor."
Smith was the network's chief news anchor and managing editor of its breaking news unit. He worked at Fox News since its inception in 1996. Under his agreement with Fox, "I won't be able to report elsewhere at least in the near future," he said.
In August, Trump slammed Smith and analyst Juan Williams. He criticized the network for hiring Donna Brazile, the former interim director of the Democratic National Committee. Brazile forwarded questions to Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary season.
"Fox hires 'give Hillary the questions' @donnabrazile, Juan Williams and low ratings Shep Smith. HOPELESS & CLUELESS! They should go all the way LEFT and I will still find a way to Win - That’s what I do, Win. Too Bad!" Trump tweeted.
Smith made headlines for opposing fellow Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who declared in August that white supremacy is “not a real problem” in America. Smith said the issue is "without question a very serious problem."
In late November, Smith, a frequent on-air Trump critic, gave a speech as host of the 2019 International Press Freedom Awards in New York City. In his first public words since leaving the network, he criticized authoritarian governments that make it difficult and dangerous for a free press.
"Intimidation and vilification of the press is now a global phenomena," said Smith, who didn't mention Trump by name in his speech. "We don’t have to look far for evidence of that."
Contributing: Bryan Alexander
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fox News: Bill Hemmer to replace Shepard Smith on cable network