Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer will fill the vacant afternoon slot left by Shepard Smith after the newsman’s abrupt departure from the network earlier this year, Fox News announced Monday.

Hemmer, who currently co-hosts “America’s Newsroom” with Sandra Smith, will take over the 3 p.m. slot starting on Dec. 20 with his self-titled show, “Bill Hemmer Reports.”

Meanwhile “America’s Newsroom,” which airs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., will feature a rotating journalist until Hemmer’s permanent replacement is selected.

In a press release, Jay Wallace, president and executive editor of Fox News Media, called Hemmer “incredible,” adding that “his ability to cut to the heart of the story while humanizing major events has made him a standout talent in news.”

“As we start gearing up for the 2020 election, we are thrilled to have him lead our news division through what will sure to be an eventful year,” Wallace said.

Hemmer said he was “extremely grateful” for the opportunity.

“2020 will undoubtedly be a year of great significance,” he said in the press release. “Leading our breaking news division with a signature hour has enormous value to me, personally, and to our audience. We’ve got a fantastic team here and I am excited to get to work.”

Smith delivered word of his resignation on air in October, leaving employees evidently shaken and stunned. The anchor had served as one of the network’s few moderate voices in between morning and evening opinion programs that often prop up President Donald Trump’s image while defending him against myriad scandals, from the Mueller probe to impeachment proceedings.

Smith, much like colleagues Chris Wallace and Howard Kurtz, had routinely clashed with pro-Trump pundits, and even Tucker Carlson, whose prime-time opinion program rakes in high ratings at the network.

Last month at the International Press Freedom Awards in New York City, Smith spoke out for the first time since his departure.

In a fiery speech, Smith, who hosted the event, slammed autocrats who “flood the world of information with garbage and lies, masquerading as news.”

“Intimidation and vilification of the press is now a global phenomenon,” he said. “We don’t have to look far for evidence of that.”

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