Longtime anchor Chris Wallace exits Fox for CNN+

Longtime anchor Chris Wallace exits Fox for CNN+

Longtime Fox News anchor Chris Wallace announced Sunday that he is leaving the top-rated cable network and joining CNN+, saying he is “ready for a new adventure.”

“After 18 years, this is my final ‘Fox News Sunday,’” Mr. Wallace said on his show. “It is the last time — and I say this with real sadness — we will meet like this. Eighteen years ago, the bosses here at Fox promised me they would never interfere with a guest I booked or a question I asked. And they kept that promise.”

Shortly after his on-air announcement, CNN issued a press release saying that Mr. Wallace would be joining the Fox News competitor’s new streaming service, CNN+.

“I am thrilled to join CNN+,” said the release on CNN’s pressroom. “After decades in broadcast and cable news, I am excited to explore the world of streaming. I look forward to the new freedom and flexibility streaming affords in interviewing major figures across the news landscape — and finding new ways to tell stories.”

Mr. Wallace added: “As I embark on this adventure, I am honored and delighted to join Jeff Zucker and his great team. I can’t wait to get started.”

In a statement, Fox News Media said that a rotation of hosts would fill Mr. Wallace’s role as anchor of “Fox News Sunday” until a permanent replacement is found.

“We are extremely proud of our journalism and the stellar team that Chris Wallace was a part of for 18 years,” said the network. “The legacy of FOX News Sunday will continue with our star journalists, many of whom will rotate in the position until a permanent host is named.”

Mr. Wallace, 74, who began his television journalism career in 1975 at NBC News, said his decision is based on his desire to explore new horizons.

“I want to try something new, to go beyond politics to all the things I’m interested in. I’m ready for a new adventure,” he said. “And I hope you’ll check it out. And so — for the last time, dear friends — that’s it for today. Have a great week. And I hope you’ll keep watching FOX News Sunday.”

The announcement came as a surprise to media watchers and politicians, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, who said he was “shocked to hear that Chris Wallace is leaving.”

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the show,” tweeted Mr. Graham, a frequent guest. “Chris challenged everyone fairly and tried to give his viewers the best information to evaluate issues.”

Mr. Wallace, the son of legendary “60 Minutes” anchor Mike Wallace, gained a reputation at Fox as a dogged interviewer who was tough on Democrats and Republicans.

“I have 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,” Mr. Wallace said. “It’s been a great ride. We’ve covered five presidential elections, interviewed every president since George H.W. Bush, traveled the world — sitting down with France’s Emanuel Macron and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. And I’ve gotten to spend Sunday mornings with you. It may sound corny, but I feel we’ve built a community here.”

CNN+ is slated to debut in the first quarter of 2022. Three years ago, Fox launched its streaming service, Fox Nation, that offers original entertainment celebrating “America’s people, stories, and history” as well as specials featuring network personalities.

Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, said that it was “not often that a news organization gets the opportunity to bring someone of Chris Wallace’s caliber on board.”

“This speaks volumes about our commitment to journalism and CNN+, and we are thrilled to have Chris on the ground floor of helping us build the next generation of CNN and news,” Mr. Zucker said.