Shep Smith leaves Fox News, takes his dignity and ‘True Blood’ fanfic with him.

In a surprising but not at all surprising development, Shep Smith announced he was leaving Fox News in a surprise statement on Friday, taking with him one of the network’s last remaining shreds of integrity and True Blood talking points.

What’s interesting is that Shep’s departure comes after a few notable events: 1. a back-and-forth he and Tucker Carlson had over Fox New’s judicial expert Anthony Napolitano who deigned to suggest that President Impeachable did something impeachable, 2. a Fox News poll that shows a majority of Americans want President Impeachable not just impeached but removed from office and 3. Attorney General Bill Barr paying a visit to Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch.

So, obviously, the conspiracy theory was that Barr demanded Shep’s head (among other changes), but Smith’s spokesperson, swatted that down: “Chris Giglio, said ‘there is absolutely no truth’ to a connection between the two events. ‘This was Shep’s decision and his alone,’ Mr. Giglio wrote in an email on Friday. ‘He’s taking an extended period of time off to be with his family. Following that who knows — he is not retiring.’”

Shep’s departure remains a mystery, though, as he had apparently resigned a multi-year contract with Fox News just last year — meaning choosing to leave the network will be very costly for him, and he’s signed a non-compete agreement, so he won’t be working at another network anytime soon. I suspect that Shep was instructed to tone down his criticisms of the administration and to not attack the other talking heads, and he was like, “HOW ABOUT I QUIT INSTEAD.” But that’s just a suspicion.

Meanwhile, the news of his departure was as shocking to Shep’s fellow Fox News employees as it was to the rest of us:

WORD, DAN RATHER.

As for President FAKE NEWS, he’s thrilled:

hannah bored sigh disappointed frustrated angry the bachelorette

Impeachment Corner! 

Let’s begin with a sketch that was cut for time on Saturday’s SNL (which I forgot to include on my SNL post, but whatever, it fits here better anyway).

The weekend’s big impeachment news is that EU Ambassador Gordon “Call Me” Sondland will testify to Congress that his text message stating that the Criminal-in-Chief did not intend any quid pro quo came from President Quid Pro Quo directly: “Sondland plans to tell lawmakers he has no knowledge of whether the president was telling him the truth at that moment. ‘It’s only true that the president said it, not that it was the truth,’ said the person familiar with Sondland’s planned testimony, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic matters.”

Now, Sondland is covering his ass here, and he claims that at the time he didn’t put together that the military aid being withheld had anything to do with Trump wanting Biden and his son to be investigated ~bullshit~ but whatever. The point is, he’s willing to testify and he’s going to testify that the “no quid pro quo” line came from President 25th Amendment himself.

Elsewhere, Fiona Hill, former top Russia and Ukraine aide to President Kompromat — and a hawk on Russia and Putin — is testifying to Congress as I type this.

The White House has not attempted to stop Ms. Hill from testifying, according to the person familiar with her account, but White House lawyers have exchanged letters with Ms. Hill’s lawyer about precedents regarding the confidentiality of presidential communications.

Sensitive to those restraints, Ms. Hill may limit answers regarding direct interactions with the president, the person said. But her testimony is being highly anticipated, in part because she has a long history as a skeptic of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia who nonetheless worked for two years for Mr. Trump, who has made friendship with Mr. Putin a high priority.

Ms. Hill will testify that while she was the president’s top adviser on Russia and Ukraine, she was cut out of the loop as Mr. Giuliani and others ran a shadow diplomacy intended to benefit Mr. Trump’s political position, according to the person informed about her account. She was not told, the person said, that Mr. Trump would use the call to press for an investigation into Mr. Biden.

Her testimony will not establish a quid pro quo between Mr. Trump’s pressure for investigations and his decision to withhold $391 million in American assistance to Ukraine, the person said. But she will confirm that the administration leveraged a coveted White House invitation for Mr. Zelensky to a commitment to investigate corruption, which was seen as code for investigating Democrats.

this-is-gonna-be-good-bear

Hunter Biden has resigned from the board of a Chinese company that he is on, sworn that he won’t pursue foreign business interests if Biden becomes president, and has sat down with ABC for an interview which will air tomorrow — the same day that the Democrats have another debate. IS THIS A GOOD IDEA FOR THE BIDEN CAMPAIGN? Allow me to answer this completely rhetorical question for myself: Uh, duh, no.

Meanwhile, the shitshow in Syria has become even shittier as our military complains that they are ashamed and betrayed by President Bone Spurs’ decision to abandon our allies, the Kurds. This Syria disaster isn’t directly related to the Ukrainian situation and the impeachment but there is a common thread between the two stories: Russia.

Two of the items highest on Putin’s wishlist of Things He Wanted From the United States of America were Ukraine and Syria. He wanted us out of Syria so that Russia could get a stronger foothold in the Middle East and extend its power there. As for Ukraine — one of the things Giuliani and President LIquid Brain want the country to investigate is this conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the election on behalf of Clinton, and Russia is a completely innocent actor in all of this, and therefore we can lift the sanctions we imposed on them. FUNNY HOW EVERYTHING KEEPS RETURNING TO RUSSIA.

And this also doesn’t really have anything to do with impeachment, either, but this weekend at a pro-Trump convention at Mar-a-Lago — a convention Dummy Jr. and Sarah Huckabee Sanders both attended — a video was shown depicting President Inciter entering a church and proceeding to shoot, stab and attack everyone from CNN to President Obama, to Black Lives Matter, to Maxine Watters, Mitt Romney, John McCain and Adam Schiff among many others. I’m not going to post the video here, because the creator of the video wants nothing more than to be disseminated widely, but it’s easily discoverable on the internet. It is horrific. The White House has said that President Enemy of the People “strongly condemns the video,” but so far no word from him directly.

Also, this happened:

I mean, that’s reason enough to impeach the motherfucker, right?

In Other TV News

DO NOT CLICK UNLESS YOU’VE WATCHED EL CAMINO, DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS.

This is a very long interview with The Walking Dead’s head, Scott M. Gimple, about the future of the show and its spin-offs, the challenges posed by the end of the comic series and those upcoming movies, if you’re interested. And if you’re in the mood for spoilers about what is going to happen this season, this is a gallery full of comic information. I disagree with that final slide — it seems like they already did this with Carl’s death — but I could be wrong.

Time to start speculating about Stranger Things 4.

Disney has flooded Twitter with all the “classic” titles that will be available on Disney+ including everything you’d expect from Snow White to Dumbo to Pinocchio to the … less familiar:

WUT.

In other streamer news, John Oliver wants you to know that “HBO Max isn’t HBO, it’s just TV.” See, HBO Max is not going to have any actual HBO materials — just original programming and reruns of Friends and The Big Bang Theory. So, literally, it’s not HBO.

And Apple TV+ showrunners were warned to not do anything that might upset the Chinese. Cooooooooool.

That weirdo Zac Bagans wants to buy John Wayne Gacy’s brain — WHICH SHOULD NOT BE A THING THAT IS AVAILABLE FOR SALE.

#MeToo

The Ronan Farrow/NBC fight is on-going and it sure feels like this is going to end for NBC about as well as it did for CBS.

Here, Ronan’s producer at NBC confirms his account about how the network shut down his investigations into Harvey Weinstein.

Additionally, Farrow’s book claims that NBC News Chairman Andy Lack preyed on younger female employees and had multiple affairs. Jane Wallace, an on-air anchor, claims that he pressured her into an affair and then threatened her career when the relationship ended: “As she left the show, she recalled him yelling, ‘You will never get credit,’” Farrow writes. “Then the network deployed a tactic that the public was barely conscious of at the time: It offered her a substantial payout to sign a binding nondisclosure agreement.”

NBC News has tried to claim that Farrow’s claims that there were multiple other employees were paid off and that they knew Matt Lauer had attacked Brooke Nevils is bullshit. OK.

Meanwhile, NBC News President Noah Oppenheim’s 1990s columns for the Harvard Crimson have come under new scrutiny amid this scandal, with these comments on the Marv Albert scandal particularly standing out:

“Marv’s plea was less an admission of wrong-doing than the last resort of a man who had been subjected to an unnecessary parade of humiliations,” Oppenheim wrote at the time. “It is certainly a noble goal to protect the victims of sexual assault from mistreatment in the courtroom, but why should Marv’s past conduct have been subject to the closest scrutiny, while [his accuser, Vanessa] Perhach’s character history have remained off-limits?”

Cool.

Hey, Bob Weinstein would like to come back now, please.

Wait, is Jeremy Renner actually a monster? Maybe!

Renewals

  • Killing Eve might have been renewed for a fourth season — stay tuned.
  • Raven’s Home might have been renewed for a fourth season.

Cancellations

In Development

Casting News

Mark Your Calendar

  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel returns on Amazon on December 6.

R.I.P.

Robert Forster, Legendary actor in countless films, Twin Peaks, Last Man Standing and El Caminamong many others

Stephen Moore, Actor in Doctor Who among many others

Joseph Rice, Agent and manager

Sulli, K-Pop star

WATCH THIS

Letterkenny: The entire seventh season. I have to admit, I haven’t watched this series, but it’s my best friends’ favorite show so I probably should get around to it. And for those of you who are fans, I KNOW, STOP YELLING AT ME. I get yelled at about this show plenty, trust. Hulu

Desus & Mero: The talk show is back. 10 p.m., Showtime

The Terror: Infamy: Amy and Yamato-san struggle to assimilate in the finale. 8 p.m., AMC

Late Night:

  • Jimmy Kimmel Live: Jeff Bridges, Mykal-Michelle Harris, Morris Day featuring Snoop Dogg
  • The Daily Show: Black Coffee
  • Lights Out with David Spade: Brad Williams, Eleanor Kerrigan, Adam Ray
  • Watch What Happens Live: Kate Chastain, Capt. Lee Rosbach
  • A Little Late with Lily Singh: Anna Faris

 

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