Since August of 2020, Fox News anchor Rob Schmitt has been noticeably absent from his early morning program Fox & Friends First. Correspondent Todd Piro, who joined the network in 2017, was filling in as co-host alongside Jillian Mele — but could the switch-up be permanent?
Is Rob Schmitt still at Fox News?
Initially, it seemed as though Rob had merely taken some time off to celebrate his 37th birthday, which was on Aug. 13. Rob revealed in an Instagram post that he visited his hometown of Carmel, Ind.
"First time home in WAY too long," the journalist wrote next to a photo with his parents, Farzaneh and Robert. After his trip to the Midwest, Rob hung out with friends in L.A. before spending a weekend in the Hamptons.
The Indiana University grad’s first job out of college was actually in Redding, Calif., a city about 160 miles north of Sacramento. "What I do requires a lot of lifestyle changing," Rob told Feeling the Vibe magazine of his early years in broadcast journalism.
"I would say every two to three years I had to uproot my entire life and just start all over in a different city… When you’re just getting comfortable in L.A., you’re told you’re going to New York but then you don’t know anyone over there," he explained.
"I believe that’s what weeds a lot of people out of this industry. You ask yourself, 'Do I really want to move to this small town and make $8/hour being a news reporter at 22 years old? Do I want to move away from all my friends and go to that city?'"
His decision to stick with it proved to be a smart one for Rob, who has been at Fox News since 2016. "Every day is kind of different; it’s not just sitting behind a desk doing paperwork," the anchor said of his Fox & Friends First gig.
"Being on television keeps it interesting and there’s always new content every day. I always say one of the better parts of my job is that if I go on a vacation, you don’t return to a job where everything has piled up on your desk," he added. No wonder he looks so relaxed on social media.
Now, Rob Schmitt has moved to Newsmax TV.
In September of 2020 (after weeks of wondering where Rob had disappeared to), Rob's fans finally got an update: Rob did indeed leave Fox News, and he left it for Newsmax TV. The conservative cable news channel has become something of a haven for several Fox defectors, including Greg Kelly and Diamond and Silk (who were fired by Fox for spreading conspiracy theories related to the COVID-19 pandemic).
As recently as the summer of 2020, Newsmax was largely unheard of, attracting a mere 21,000 total viewers over the course of a week (compared to Fox's 1.9 million). However, in recent months — and especially in the wake of the 2020 presidential election — many conservative viewers have expressed their distaste for Fox's coverage and started flocking to Newsmax instead.
Newsmax experienced another surge in popularity after President Trump tweeted several clips from the network in November, which some took as an indication that he had cut ties with Fox and established loyalties to a new network — one that is still claiming he won the election that he actually lost. Will more reporters join Rob and leave Fox for Newsmax? We'll have to stay tuned.