‘Fox & Friends First’ host announces departure from network

Jillian Mele, a longtime co-host on the Fox News weekday morning program “Fox & Friends First,” announced Friday she is leaving the network.

She will be replaced by Fox reporter Carley Shimkus starting Monday, the network said.

“Today is my last day here at Fox News,” Mele said Friday morning on the show, growing emotional at times as she spoke. “This, as you know, has been the most difficult decision I have ever made in my life — in part because I love working here and I love the people here, because you are friends. You are family.

“And I feel so blessed to have had this time here but, ultimately I had to do what was right for me and I thank you for welcoming me into your home every single morning,” Mele added.

She went on to talk about what comes next.

“I’m gonna take a little time to focus on my personal life which I haven’t done my entire adult life,” Mele said, “sleep past 1 a.m. for the first time in 15 years, and have a focus on getting my MBA, which I’m currently doing at LaSalle University in Philadelphia.”

Mele also talked about how much her job at Fox and the people at the network have meant to her.

“I’m gonna really spend the time focused on me, my friends, and my family, but this is such a family,” she said.

After naming numerous people who impacted her life during her time at the network, Mele said, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart because I am a better person for having been here.”

In a statement, Shimkus expressed her excitement at becoming a “Fox & Friends First” co-host.

“I look forward to bringing the news to America each morning alongside my colleague Todd Piro. The FOX & Friends franchise has been the leader in morning television for nearly 20 years and I feel fortunate to be a part of this incredible team,” she said.

Gavin Hadden, Fox News Channel’s vice president of morning programming, welcomed Shimkus to the team and thanked Mele for her years at the network.

“Carley brings great experience to this role developed over nearly a decade at FOX News Media and we are excited to have her join FOX & Friends First. We wish Jillian all the best as she returns home to Philadelphia and thank her for her outstanding contribution and dedication to the FOX & Friends franchise,” he said.