Former “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace said on Sunday that while he is still reeling from the rapid demise of fledgling streaming service CNN+, he is confident that he’s “in good shape” moving forward.
Wallace abruptly left FOX in December before announcing his move to CNN for a new interview-based show — “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?” — and according to a report from Mediaite, he told former CBS News reporter Jacqueline Adams that he had been a “victim” of the current situation.
Appearing at a Common Ground Committee live-streamed event titled “Media, Politics, and Polarization,” Wallace addressed questions about the recently-announced end of the cable news giant’s brand new streaming service — and his future, whether it be with CNN or not.
“Are there already enough choices for news sources out there and are the days of streaming already over?” Adams asked, prompting Wallace to shoot back with, “Wow, that was quick.”
“It’s an interesting thing and I’ve been a victim of all of this in the last week,” Wallace continued, going on to note what many of his colleagues have over the past week — that the timing and the Warner Bros. Discovery merger with CNN — rather than any problems with content or lower-than-expected subscription numbers — was the main driver behind the termination of CNN+.
Wallace argued that former CNN chief Jeff Zucker and others at the network had been right to believe that streaming was the future of news, noting that multi-channel cable packages were quickly becoming a thing of the past.
“The idea was you’ve got to get a foothold in the streaming world because that’s where the future of news off the mainstream networks is going to be. Now you have some equally smart people that have come in with a diametrically opposed view, these are the new bosses at CNN+ because of [the Warner Bros. Discovery merger] who have come to the conclusion that to have a narrow niche product like a news streaming service doesn’t work,” Wallace continued, referencing Discovery’s plan to launch a much broader, all-encompassing streaming service that included content across all of its brands.
“I have absolutely no idea which is right and wrong, but the Discovery people are in charge and so they made the decision,” he said.
Adams continued to press Wallace, asking whether he had plans for his own future given the fact that he had left Fox after 18 years in order to make the jump to CNN+.
“I mean my gosh, Jackie, it just happened on Thursday. Give me a couple days,” Wallace said, adding, “I am going to be fine. I’m in good shape whether it’s at CNN or someplace else.”
Wallace concluded by saying that his main concern was the hundreds of people on his team and other teams who had also left their previous jobs and even moved across the country to help launch the streaming service.
According to a statement from the network, all CNN+ employees will be retained on full salary and benefits while executives try to find them other positions within the network. Those who do not find a good enough fit will reportedly be given a 6-month severance.