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Fox News makes plans to replace Shepard Smith; Trump wonders if 'bad ratings' are to blame

Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY

After announcing Friday that he's leaving Fox News, Shepard Smith's daily hour on the conservative-leaning news network is open. Who's going to replace him? 

The weekday 3 p.m. block is still labeled as "Shepard Smith Reporting" on Fox News' official website. Until the network names a permanent replacement, it will become an hour-long news show titled "Fox News Reporting," featuring a rotating cast of anchors, the network announced in a news release. Trace Gallagher will anchor the show on Monday. 

Gallagher began at Fox in 1996 and serves as the network's chief breaking news correspondent, according to his official biography

Smith, the network's chief news anchor and managing editor of its breaking news unit, has worked at Fox News since its inception in 1996. During his tenure, he's made headlines for his on-air criticism of President Donald Trump.

Fox News host Shepard Smith, seen here in 2017, announced on the air Friday that he's leaving the cable network.

Shepard Smith resigns from Fox News: Smith steps down as chief news anchor, departs network, stuns colleagues

During his Friday afternoon show, Smith announced his decision "to leave Fox News and begin a new chapter," after increasingly clashing with the network's prime-time opinion hosts. 

He said his departure was voluntary: "After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged. The opportunities afforded this guy from small-town Mississippi have been many. It’s been an honor and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favor.

"Even in our currently polarized nation, it's my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive," Smith said in his emotional on-air speech.

Under his agreement with Fox, "I won't be able to report elsewhere at least in the near future," he said.

President Trump responded to Smith's announcement, tweeting: "Is he leaving due to bad ratings, or some other less important reason?"

Fox News declined to comment but directed USA TODAY to Nielsen ratings for Smith’s show, which showed Smith leading in his time slot against rival cable news shows. 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fox News' Shepard Smith is gone; who will replace him as anchor?