Shepard Smith out at Fox News

After 23 years at Fox News, its chief news anchor Shep Smith is off to pastures new.

"Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News and begin a new chapter," Smith said. "After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged. The opportunities afforded this guy from small town Mississippi have been many. 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. I've worked with the most talented, dedicated and focused professionals I know and I'm proud to have anchored their work each day — I will deeply miss them."

His contract was reportedly renewed only last year. Rumor is that he was told to stop being critical of all the pro-Trump rhetoric on the channel and abruptly quit rather than eat it.

His instant departure comes hours after Secretary of State Attorney General William Barr met privately with Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, presumably to discuss wavering support for President Donald Trump among the channel's on-air personalities.