CNN President Jeff Zucker Says He’s Interested In Hiring Shepard Smith

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CNN President Jeff Zucker said Thursday that he’d be interested in hiring Shepard Smith once his Fox News contract expires.

Smith left Fox News after 23 years with the network earlier this month, but is not allowed to appear on another network for the duration of his contract. (RELATED: Fox News Dominates CNN, MSNBC In Mueller TV Ratings)

“I think Shep’s a great journalist,” Zucker said at CNN’s Citizen conference, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “When he’s available, he is somebody who is very talented and I would be very open to talking to him.”

Shepard Smith says goodbye at Fox News (Fox News screengrab)

Shepard Smith says goodbye at Fox News (Fox News screengrab)

Smith was one of Fox News’ original hires in 1996 and also served as manager of the network’s breaking news unit before his departure. (RELATED: Sarah Huckabee Sanders To Join Fox News)

The 55-year-old news anchor also hosted “Shepard Smith Reporting” at the 3 P.M. E.T. time slot for 17 years before his exit. Over the past few years, Smith received significant criticism from President Donald Trump as well as the network’s conservative viewers.

When told of Smith’s departure earlier this month, Trump mocked the anchor, and suggested that he had been forced out due to “bad ratings.”

“Is he leaving because of bad ratings? Tell me, I don’t know,” the president said at the time. “If he’s leaving, I assume he’s leaving because he had bad ratings.”