By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Fox Corp's FoxBusiness Network has canceled "Lou Dobbs Tonight," a weekdayprogram hosted by the business journalist and vocal supporter offormer President Donald Trump, the company said on Friday.
News of the cancellation came one day after Dobbs, 75, wasnamed as a defendant in a defamation lawsuit filed by votingmachine maker Smartmatic, which argued that three Fox hostsincluding Dobbs falsely accused the company of helping to rigthe election against Trump.
Fox said the move to end Dobbs' show had been in the worksbefore the lawsuit as part of a revamp following the NovemberU.S. presidential election in which Republican Trump wasdefeated by Democrat Joe Biden.
"As we said in October, Fox News Media regularly considersprogramming changes and plans have been in place to launch newformats as appropriate post-election, including on FoxBusiness," a Fox News spokesperson said. "This is part of thoseplanned changes."
On the Smartmatic lawsuit, Fox said on Thursday the networkwas "proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorouslydefend this meritless lawsuit in court."
Dobbs said he had no comment on Friday.
The cancellation of Dobbs' show was first reported by theLos Angeles Times, which said the anchor was unlikely to appearon Fox channels again even though he remains under contract.Dobbs' show ran at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern time on FoxBusiness Network, and he appeared at times as a commentator onFox News Channel.
Starting Monday, Dobbs' show will be called "Fox BusinessTonight" with substitute hosts Jackie DeAngelis on Monday andTuesday and David Asman from Wednesday through Friday.
A new 5 p.m. show will be announced soon, the Foxspokesperson said.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)