Greta Van Susteren, who has anchored early evening and primetime programs for Fox News Channel since 2002, left the cable-news outlet abruptly Tuesday in the midst of a chaotic period at the 21st Century Fox-owned outlet, adding to the tummult.
Brit Hume, a veteran journalist who spent more than a decade as a senior news executive in Fox News’ Washington bureau, will take over her 7 p.m. slot on the 21st Century Fox-owned cable-news network at least through the election. He will appear this evening, the network, and is expected to stay in place through the Presidential election in November.
Van Susteren could not be reached for immediate comment. Her husband, John Coale, an attorney who has worked as her agent in the past, could also not be reached for immediate comment. In a statement, Van Susteren said “Fox has not felt like home to me for a few years now, and I took advantage of a clause in my contract which allows me to leave now. The clause had a time limitation, meaning I could not wait.” Van Susteren last revised her contract with Fox News in May of 2013. A person familiar with the situation came about as the result of a “financial disagreement.”
Her departure takes place as speculation rises that the network’s parent is eager to distance the outlet from the culture instilled there by Roger Ailes, its former chief, who departed in the wake of an internal investigation spurred by charges of sexual harassment levied in a lawsuit by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson. Van Susteren was one of several Fox News anchors who initially rose to Ailes’ defense, noting that she had not encountered any sort of harassment while working at the outlet. “Let’s first get something straight: I did not sexually harass anyone (of course.). And second, I did not know about any sexual harassment and keep it secret (of course.),” she said on her Fox News blog, “Gretawire,” in August.
A Fox News report stated that Van Susteren had asked to renegotiate her contract with the network in the wake of Ailes’ departure. Some on-air staffers have a “key man” clause that tied their employment with the network to Ailes’ tenure there. Van Susteren’s departure creates the first big programming challenge for Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy, the network’s new co-presidents, who were elevated to those roles after Ailes left. During Ailes’ tenure, Fox News rarely made big shifts in its primetime lineup. One of the few involved launching Megyn Kelly at 9 p.m. in 2013.
Van Susteren rose to prominence as a criminal defense attorney and civil trial lawyer who parlayed appearances as a legal analyst on CNN during the infamous trial of former football player and actor O.J. Simpson into a hosting stint. Van Susteren co-hosted the show “Burden of Proof” with Roger Cossack between 1995 and 2001. She also anchored a primetime program, “The Point,” on CNN starting in 2001.
She joined Fox News Channel in 2002, and began anchoring “On The Record.” In 2013, her Washington D.C., based primetime program was moved to 7 p.m. in a primetime shuffle that welcomed the launch of Megyn Kelly’s program. She has held forth in the early evening ever since, until Tuesday’s announcement.
“We are grateful for Greta’s many contributions over the years and wish her continued success,” Abernethy and Shine said in a prepared statement.
Hume is expected to focus on political coverage through November and the end of the current race for U.S. President. Hume previously served as the anchor of “Special Report,” and stepped down in December 2008 after more than 10 years anchoring the program. Hume also served as the Washington managing editor and was responsible for overseeing news content for Fox News’ Washington bureau. He anchored all network coverage for every presidential election from 1996 to 2008. Before joining FOX News in 1996, Hume was with ABC News for 23 years, serving as chief White House correspondent from 1989 through 1996.
As for Van Susteren, she may have another stop to make in her career trajectory. “I hope to continue my career in broadcasting,” she said.