Backstory: Mississippi native Smith studied journalism at the University of Mississippi, but dropped out and worked as a news reporter at stations in Panama City Beach, Fort Myers and Orlando, Florida. He arrived on the national scene in the mid-1990s, when he signed on as a correspondent on the Fox-produced tabloid news show A Current Affair. In 1996, as Roger Ailes prepared to launch Fox News, he hired Smith as a general assignment reporter. He's been with the network ever since, covering events like the Columbine school shootings, Bill Clinton's impeachment trial, and the attacks of Sept. 11th, before moving up to the anchor chair. Smith can currently be seen hosting the 7 p.m. fast-paced newscast The Fox Report and the similarly speedy afternoon news show Studio B. One of the network's most popular personalities, in November 2007 Smith signed a new three-year contract with Fox for around $7.5 million a year, making him one of the highest paid cable news personalities. In October 2010, he signed a new agreement with the network which will keep him behind the anchor desk through the end of 2013.
On the job: Smith consistently performs well in the ratings game—The Fox Report is the top-rated newscast in its slot cable—but he also has a reputation for being blunder-prone. He notoriously jumped the gun on announcing the death of Pope John Paul II, making the proclamation a day before the holy man actually passed away. In another slip-up-one that later became a YouTube sensation-Smith said that Bronx residents were more likely to give J. Lo "a curb job than a blowjob." (He meant to say "block party.")
Crime file: During the 2000 Bush-Gore debates, Smith was arrested in Florida and charged with aggravated battery with a motor vehicle, after brawling with a fellow reporter over a parking space. The charges were later dropped.
Personal: Smith, who was married briefly in the early '90s, has repeatedly dodged the question of his sexuality. But in 2005 he was outed in a column in the Washington Blade. Kevin Naff, the managing editor of the gay weekly, said that Smith "chatted me up in a New York City gay piano bar, bought me drinks, and invited me back to his place." Smith lives in a West Village loft that he purchased for $1.87 million in 2004. Fashion designer (and fellow gay) Michael Kors lives in the same building.
Full Name: David Shepard Smith
Date of Birth: 01/14/1964
Place of Birth: Holly Springs, MS
Undergrad: University of Mississippi
Residence(s): New York, NY (West Village)
Filed Under: Media, Cable News, Television
[Photo via Getty Images]