CNN President Jeff Zucker Says He Would Be Interested in Hiring Shepard Smith

October 24, 2019 Updated: October 24, 2019

CNN President Jeff Zucker said he would be interested in hiring former Fox News host Shepard Smith after he left the network earlier this month.

Smith announced that under the terms of his agreement, he “won’t be reporting elsewhere, at least in the near future.”

But Zucker said that should the opportunity arise, he would consider hiring Smith, who spent 23 years at Fox.

“I think Shep’s a great journalist,” Zucker said at a conference, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “I understand he’s not able to take any jobs for the foreseeable future. When he’s available, he is somebody who is very talented and I would be very open to talking to him.”

Smith was one of the first Fox News hires in 1996 and was the manager of the breaking news division of the network.

“This is my last newscast here. Thank you for watching today and over the decades,” the 55-year-old anchor said in mid-October. “It’s been an honor and my pleasure. Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, and that journalism and journalists will thrive.”

CEO of CNN Worldwide Jeff Zucker attends the 10th Annual CNN Heroes All-Star Tribute at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City on Dec. 11, 2016. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)
CEO of CNN Worldwide Jeff Zucker. (Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)

Zucker, who has been the subject of several recent Project Veritas leaks, claimed in the conference that Fox News is “state-run television” and said it “is not a journalistic organization.”

He also touched on rumors that he is resigning.

“I do have an announcement to make today: I’m not resigning,” Zucker said on Thursday. “I have no intention of resigning. I think there was probably too much ‘executive time’ that day. He clearly has been agitated by CNN, and there was probably something done that day and he was trying to take a shot at CNN and he uses me as a proxy for that.”

Lawsuit

On Oct. 18, the Trump Campaign sent a letter to Zucker and CNN Vice President David Vigilante, saying they intend to file a lawsuit.

“Your actions are in violation of the Lanham act,” stated the letter, drafted by attorney Charles Harder of Harder LLP.

The letter cited footage posted by Project Veritas that showed alleged CNN employees speaking about Zucker’s “personal vendetta” to “take down President Trump.”

President of CNN Worldwide, Jeff Zucker, in New York on June 13, 2019. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

The letter then cited statements from purported CNN employees including Cary Poarch’s statement: “CNN purports to be facts first, and that’s just not the case”; Nick Neville’s statement: “Don Lemon comes on, he makes you think he’s objective news, but he’s blatantly opinionated. So either disclose where you’re coming from or get someone whose a bit more objective … he’s blatantly anti-Trump; he’s blatantly left”; and Christian Sierra’s statement: “There’s just nothing we can do if Zucker wants impeachment every single day to be the top story.”

The letter claimed to Zucker and Vigilante: “Your actions are in violation of the Lanham Act,” which prohibits a number of activities including false advertising. “By constituting misrepresentations to the public, to your advertisers, and others,” it said.

Zucker didn’t address the Trump letter while at the conference.

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