Melissa Francis

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Melissa Francis
Melissa Francis at the Wall Street Money Never Sleeps Premiere.jpg
Melissa Francis at the Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps premiere in 2010
Born Melissa Ann Francis[1]
(1972-12-12) December 12, 1972 (age 45)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Other names Missy Francis
Education Harvard University (B.A.)
Occupation News anchor
Years active 1973–present
Spouse(s) Wray Thorn (1997–present)
Children 3

Melissa Ann Francis (born December 12, 1972) is an American actress and current commentator for the Fox Business Network (FBN) and Fox News (FNC).

Prior to FBN, she worked at CNBC. She is currently the co-host of After The Bell weekday afternoons with David Asman. She is also an anchor of FNC's Happening Now newscast. She is a regular panelist on FNC's afternoon talk show Outnumbered.


Born and raised in Los Angeles, Francis graduated from Harvard University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and served as executive editor of The Harvard College Economist magazine. She was also the captain of the Harvard Polo Team. At Harvard, she was president of the Economics Club.



Francis started her acting career on television before her first birthday, first appearing in a Johnson & Johnson shampoo commercial at 6 months of age. She was known for her role as Cassandra Cooper Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, for two seasons.[2][3] Other television appearances include two series regular roles: Morningstar/Eveningstar and Joe’s World, and three films including Man, Woman and Child, where she played Paula Beckwith. She has also had appearances in the television series St. Elsewhere in 1986 and the 1988 film Bad Dreams, where she played young Cynthia. Melissa appeared in nearly 100 commercials during her acting career. She is reportedly the inspiration for the fictional character Avery Jessup (conceived of and played by Elizabeth Banks) in the show 30 Rock,[4] although Banks herself has denied this.[5]


In January 2012, Francis became an anchor for Fox Business Network.

Previously, she was an anchor for CNBC.

Prior to CNBC, Francis worked for CNET's broadcast unit.[6]

In 2014, Francis became a recurring co-host of Fox News Channel's talk and news commentary program, Outnumbered.[7] In addition, she also anchors FNC's Happening Now newscast.


Francis authored a book in November 2012, Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter: A Memoir, concerning the trials, tribulations and joys of having an overbearing mother;[8] and in April 2017, published Lessons from the Prairie, relating childhood experiences from the show as applied to her adult life.[9]



Year Title Role Notes
1979 Scavenger Hunt Jennifer Motley
1983 Man, Woman and Child Paula Beckwith
1988 Bad Dreams Young Cynthia
2009 Race to Witch Mountain TV reporter Uncredited
2012 The Dictator Local News Reporter


Year Title Role Notes
1974 The Ghost of Flight 401 Kid TV film
1979 Champions: A Love Story Sally TV film
1979 Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love Thea TV film
1979–80 Joe's World Linda Wabash Main role (11 episodes)
1980 Mork & Mindy Little Mindy Episode: "A Mommy for Mindy"
1980 Galactica 1980 Little Girl Episode: "Galactica Discovers Earth Part II And III"
1980 When the Whistle Blows Deenie Episode: "Love Is a Four-Letter Word"
1981 Midnight Lace Cathy, age 11 TV film
1981 A Gun in the House Diana Cates TV film
1981–82 Little House on the Prairie Cassandra Cooper Ingalls Main role (21 episodes)
1984 Something About Amelia Beth Bennett TV film
1985 Hotel Jodi Abbott Episode: "Rallying Cry"
1985 CBS Schoolbreak Special Tina Episode: "The War Between the Classes"
1986 St. Elsewhere Cynthia Episode: "Family Affair"
1986 Morningstar/Eveningstar Sarah Bishop Main role (7 episodes)
1988 A Year in the Life Eunice Episode: "Common Ground"
1989 ALF Miss Williams Episode: "Baby, Come Back"
1990 Hardball Episode: "A Death in the Family"


  1. ^ "Vini M Francis, Born 12/12/1972 in California -". Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  2. ^ Jon Friedman (September 19, 2007). "CNBC's Melissa Francis isn't over the hill". MarketWatch. Retrieved September 19, 2007.
  3. ^ "Missy Francis Biography". 2009.
  4. ^ "Which CNBC Anchor Was The Basis For 30 Rock's Avery Jessup?". February 16, 2010. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  5. ^ "Elizabeth Banks Slams Page Six For "30 Rock" Story". The Huffington Post. April 21, 2010. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  6. ^ Francis, Melissa (April 12, 2002). "Perspective: Where's my all-in-one device?". CNET. Retrieved April 12, 2002.
  7. ^ "Outnumbered". Fox News. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  8. ^ " stagemother's daughter". Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  9. ^ Francis, Melissa (April 25, 2017). Lessons from the Prairie. Weinstein Publishing. ISBN 9781602863064.

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