Following the November elections, Brit Hume, longtime host of "Special Report" on Fox News Channel and one of its guiding lights, will step down from his anchor post and as managing editor for the Washington bureau.
The news broke this afternoon via Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz who reports that Hume will not be leaving the channel entirely--he will be retaining his role as a panelist on "Fox News Sunday."
No decision has been made by FNC chief Roger Ailes about the future of "Special Report."
Hume's departure marks the end of an era of unprecedented programming continuity for FNC as New York Times TV reporter Brian Stelter writes:
While the other cable news channels have repeatedly tinkered with time slots, Fox’s 6 to 11 p.m. schedule — comprised of Mr. Hume, Shepard Smith, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes, and Greta Van Susteren — has remained remarkably stable for most of the decade. The consistency has helped make Fox one of the most popular channels on cable for six straight years.
In the second quarter of 2008, “Special Report” attracted 1.34 million viewers a night, making it Fox’s fourth most popular program. While other Fox shows have tilted toward tabloid-type stories, the 6 p.m. hour of “Special Report” has remained the network’s political show of record, acting as an alternative to the evening newscasts that are broadcast at the same time.
Mr. Hume has been an unbridled supporter of Fox and a believer that the network acts as a counterweight to liberal bias on other networks. At Fox, he has helped shape the coverage of President Clinton’s impeachment, the 2000 election stalemate, and the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Mr. Hume previously spent 23 years as a reporter for ABC News, including eight years as the chief White House correspondent.
Hume has been a strong supporter of our efforts here at NewsBusters as well as our parent organization, the Media Research Center. He'll be missed. "Special Report" was a rare island of sanity in the chaotic sea of cable news.
Update 17:40. James Joyner is collecting blogger reactions.