By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Brit Hume, a top anchor and executive with Fox News since the channel was launched 12 years ago, plans to step down at year's end. But he won't disappear entirely.
Sources familiar with the situation say that Hume, 65, will give up his job as Washington managing editor and anchor of "Special Report," the 6 p.m. show that has beaten the cable news competition for seven years. They say he is near a deal to continue with Fox in a senior-statesman role, not unlike that of NBC's Tom Brokaw, for roughly 100 days a year.
Hume would be a senior political analyst, anchor for special events, panelist on "Fox News Sunday" and occasional substitute for the host, Chris Wallace.
Hume was unavailable for comment; the sources describing the situation would not be identified discussing pending contract negotiations.
A former ABC White House correspondent who has never hidden his conservative views, Hume has been a central part of Fox's success. He has anchored on election nights and at political conventions and moderated a number of presidential debates. Hume has enjoyed good access to top Bush administration officials; when Vice President Cheney was under intense criticism after accidentally shooting a hunting companion two years ago, he did one interview, with Hume.
Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes has made no decision on whether "Special Report," which began as a temporary program during the Clinton impeachment, will continue, or who would be its future anchor.
Hume had made no secret that he would probably retire when his contract expired this year. That became more likely when his wife, Kim, stepped down as Fox's Washington bureau chief in 2006.