Chris Wallace, the longtime Washington journalist, announced his departure from Fox News Channel at the end of his weekly program Sunday, and will head to CNN’s upcoming streaming service.

Wallace, whose contract at Fox News ends this month, was considered the most evenhanded journalist at the conservative-leaning Fox News. An 18-year veteran of the channel, he was the anchor of its Sunday roundtable show “Fox News Sunday.”

“Eighteen years ago, the bosses here at Fox promised me they would never interfere with a guest I booked or a question I asked,” Wallace said on his program. “And they kept that promise. I have been free to report to the best of my ability, to cover the stories I think are important, to hold our country’s leaders to account. It’s been a great ride.”

The surprising departure makes Wallace the latest in a series of high-profile cable news stars to leave their long-standing posts.

Brian Williams signed off from MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour” on Thursday, ending a 28-year run at NBC News. Rachel Maddow is expected to end her daily prime-time program hosting duties on the same channel in 2022, although she will remain with parent company NBCUniversal.

CNN fired prime-time host Chris Cuomo on Dec. 4, following the release of a New York state attorney general’s report detailing his heavy involvement in defending his brother, Andrew Cuomo, the former governor who resigned after sexual harassment allegations.

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Wallace was not the most popular of Fox News personalities, as he never had a daily program. But his evenhanded approach gave the channel a patina of journalistic respectability often used to deflect criticism of the network’s opinion hosts who draw the largest audiences.

Wallace brought gravitas to special event and election coverage on Fox News. He is the only anchor from the network to moderate a presidential debate, taking on the role in 2016 and 2020.

Wallace has long said he was immune to the right-wing rhetoric of Fox News commentators and never publicly criticized the organization. There have been reports that he was among the journalists in the Washington bureau who expressed concerns about Tucker Carlson’s documentary series about the Jan. 6 insurrection, which pushed a conspiracy theory that suggested government involvement.

Two Washington-based contributors, Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes, quit Fox News over the Carlson programs, which streamed on Fox Nation.

But according to a Fox News representative, Wallace is leaving because he has the desire to try something new.

A CNN representative confirmed that Wallace is joining the streaming service CNN+. He will be a Washington-based anchor for the service, which is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2022.

Wallace, 74, is the son of legendary CBS News journalist Mike Wallace. He had stints at NBC News and ABC News before joining Fox News in 2003.

Wallace was known as the Fox News journalist who would push back hard against conservative guests who came in with an expectation of friendly treatment, often generating viral moments on social media.

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