NEW YORK (AP) — Media watchdog Howard Kurtz, host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources” for 15 years, said Thursday that he’s jumping to Fox News Channel.
Kurtz will host another Sunday morning media criticism show to replace the current “Fox News Watch.” He’ll also appear as an on-air analyst across the network during the week and write a column for the network’s website on social media news and industry trends.
His jump comes less than two months after Kurtz was interviewed on his own show to apologize for and explain a series of mistakes he had made in a story about basketball player Jason Collins, who had announced he was gay. Kurtz said the incident did not play a role in his exit from CNN, that the timing of it and his contract renewal were coincidental.
“The folks at CNN have been nothing but gracious to me during my 15 years of hosting ‘Reliable Sources’ but this is a chance to create a new franchise and play a larger role,” he said.
Michael Clemente, Fox’s executive vice president of news, called Kurtz “the most accomplished media reporter in the country” and said his addition would bring greater depth to the network.
Kurtz, a longtime media reporter at The Washington Post, began as a panelist for the show when it started in 1992 with Bernard Kalb as host. Kurtz took over as host in 1998. CNN, in a statement, thanked Kurtz and wished him well. “Reliable Sources” will continue with a variety of hosts in the next few months, which is how TV networks often test possibilities before choosing a successor.
It had been a rough stretch for Kurtz. He had written a column for The Daily Beast saying Collins had hidden a previous engagement to a woman, when in fact Collins had talked about it in a Sports Illustrated story and television interview. Kurtz acknowledged being too slow to correct the mistake and making an inappropriate comment about playing “both sides of the court” in a video story.
The Daily Beast and Kurtz announced they were parting ways on the same day the mistake came to light.
Kurtz said he is comfortable he will have editorial independence at Fox and that the network would not have hired him without being comfortable with his style of media criticism.
“I have had occasion to criticize every employee I have worked for, including The Washington Post and CNN, and I don’t see any reason for that to change if it is warranted,” he said.
His last “Reliable Sources” will be June 30 and Kurtz begins at Fox the next day.
Fox said that Jon Scott, current host of “Fox News Watch,” will be an anchor for the network’s specials unit.