In one of the most shocking political developments of the last decade, Tucker Carlson parted ways with Fox News on Monday. The decision was apparently abrupt, as the network was planning to air an interview with Carlson and 2024 presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy on the very next show.
Obviously, that segment has now been canned, and Fox News is reportedly filling the timeslot with an hour of Fox News Tonight using a revolving door of hosts.
Note: Tucker was supposed to do a show tonight. He was set to interview Vivek Ramaswamy. Fox had been promoting it this AM.— Angelo Carusone (@GoAngelo) April 24, 2023
So whatever happened, it was abrupt.
My gut is Tucker didn’t want to play ball in this delicate moment for Fox News and it unravelled fast.
Speculation as to why Carlson exited the network so quickly has already begun. Many are suggesting that some provision in the Dominion lawsuit demanded it, but that seems unlikely given Carlson was planning to be on air until this happened. Still, the Dominion lawsuit is likely the catalyst in other ways.
As RedState reported, Fox News recently settled a defamation claim brought by the voting system company for $787 million. Just a day prior to that, I had written that big changes were no doubt coming to the network given how bleak things looked.
The long and short of this is that Fox News is in a lot of trouble. The amount of money they could be required to pay out if they lose at trial could cripple the network, and there’s no guarantee that Dominion will give them the out of a lower settlement. Wherever this goes, you can probably bet that big changes are coming to Fox News in the future.
I’ll be honest in saying that Carlson’s ouster didn’t seem probable at the time, though. He is obviously their biggest draw and likely their biggest money maker as far as hosts go. For him to leave has to mean something more happened than just executives being mad about the lawsuit settlement.
It was rumored that Tucker wanted to go on air Monday night and “clear his name” related to the lawsuit, presumably meaning the Dominion lawsuit, and that “corporate nixed the idea.”
According to another report, it was Rupert Murdoch who ultimately decided to end things with Carlson.
According to the LA Times:
People familiar with the situation who were not authorized to comment publicly said the decision to fire Carlson came straight from Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch.
Carlson’s exit is related to the discrimination lawsuit filed by Abby Grossberg, the producer fired by the network last month, the people said. Murdoch is also said to be concerned over Carlson’s coverage of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, in which the host has promoted the conspiracy theory that it was provoked by government agents.
Carlson has called Ray Epps — a Texas man who participated in the storming of the Capitol but did not enter the building — an FBI plant, without presenting any evidence. Epps was interviewed Sunday on “60 Minutes” and said he has been subjected to death threats as a result of Carlson’s statements about him.
And, Dominion says it’s not about them:
The decision is not related to the $787.5-million settlement Fox News agreed to pay to Dominion Voting Systems last week, according to a representative for Dominion.
However, some of the comments that Carlson had made about management in communications that turned up in the discovery process for the case may have also played a role in Carlson’s demise.
Regardless, I have no doubt Carlson will not only land on his feet but become even more popular. He has the talent and the following to set the podcasting world on fire, and I’d guess that’s the direction he goes. He’ll be able to call his own shots and not be beholden to the demands of a corporate overlord. The future for Fox News isn’t quite as bright. They’ve lost their top audience draw, and no other person exists who can fill that hole. Viewers are going to be angry over this, no matter what the details are.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece was edited post-publication to include additional information and for clarity.)