Melissa Francis Off Fox News, Fox Business Amid Reports of Pay Disparity Claim

Contessa Brewer, Melissa Francis in attendance for NLGJA''s 16th Annual Headlines and Headliners Benefit, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams SoHo Store, New York, NY March 24, 2011. Photo By: Michael Williams/Everett Collection
Courtesy of Everett Collection

Melissa Francis, a longtime business-news reporter who has been with Fox News Media since 2012, has been off the air since early October after approaching the company earlier this year with claims of pay disparity based on gender discrimination, according to reports in The Los Angeles Times and from social-media journalist Yashar Ali.

Francis, who co-anchored the mid-day Fox News Channel show “Outnumbered” and the Fox Business Network show “After The Bell,” has not been seen on air since appearing on the former program October 7. Fox News declined to comment on whether the company and the anchor were in the midst of any kind of arbitration. “Fox News Media regularly considers programming changes, including to its daytime lineup, and will launch new formats as appropriate after the election,” the company said in a statement. “These changes are being made independent of any other ongoing matter.”

Francis did not respond immediately to a query via social media.

She remains a Fox News Media employee. It is not clear, however, whether she might return to regular slots on air.

Stock-market news aficionados will recognize Francis from a long stint she did at CNBC, where she specialized in such areas as energy and commodities. While there, she was a co-anchor on daytime programs such as “Power Lunch” and “The Call.”  Before joining CNBC, Francis was a correspondent for CNET’s broadcast unit,  and several local stations in New England. She also had a career as an actor, appearing as a child in the role of Cassandra Cooper Ingalls for a few seasons on the long-running NBC drama “Little House on the Prairie.”

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Harvard University.