Report: Carlson Exit Was a Big Shock to Fox Staffers

Host may have been doomed by comments about management
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2023 1:33 PM CDT
Carlson's Comments About Bosses May Have Sunk Him
Tucker Carlson, host of "Tucker Carlson Tonight," poses for photos in a Fox News Channel studio on March 2, 2017, in New York.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Tucker Carlson is out at Fox News after 14 years—and while the network says the move was "mutually agreed" upon, it appears to have happened abruptly. Hours before the announcement, Fox was still previewing Carlson's Monday night show, in which he was set to interview GOP candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, the Guardian reports. Journalist Yashar Ali tweeted that according to staff and presenters, there was "total and complete shock" at Fox after the announcement. "Everyone outside of top executives, including Tucker’s staff, found out about his exit on Twitter," Ali said. In Carlson's final show on Friday, he said he would be back on Monday. More:

  • Comments about management may have doomed him. Carlson's surprise exit comes less than a week after Fox agreed to pay $787.5 million to settle a defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems. An insider tells the Washington Post that Carlson's comments about Fox management in private messages disclosed as part of the lawsuit played a big role in his departure.

  • Murdoch may have made the call himself. Mediaite reports that a Fox News insider says Fox Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch decided to ditch the network's top-rated primetime host. "Rupert is 92. He just called off a weeks-long engagement and settled for 800 mil so he wouldn’t have to go to Delaware," the source says. "He just makes rash decisions."
  • Newsmax urges viewers to switch. Fox rival Newsmax urged Fox viewers to switch networks, saying Carlson's departure is a big step toward Fox becoming "establishment media," the New York Times reports. "Millions of viewers who liked the old Fox News have made the switch to Newsmax, and Tucker’s departure will only fuel that trend," chief executive Christopher Ruddy said.
  • Fox stock drops. Fox Corporation's stock took a bigger hit after the Carlson news than it did after the Dominion settlement. It dropped 3.6% in the hour after the announcement, the Hill reports.
  • "This is major." "This is major. It sends a message that even the guy with the highest ratings of all, by a long shot, doesn’t get to survive this disaster," the Post quotes an on-air Fox personality as saying.
  • A job offer. RT, formerly known as Russia Today, tweeted to Carlson that he "can always question more" with RT.
  • Fox's statement. "We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor," Fox said in a statement. The network said an interim show "hosted by a rotation of various Fox News personalities," Fox News Tonight, will be aired in Tucker Carlson Tonight's former 8pm Eastern slot until a replacement is found.
(More Tucker Carlson stories.)

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