Tucker Carlson, Lachlan Murdoch’s pet, seems to have gotten the boot from Fox. Buh-bye! (UPDATED)
Of all the people I thought Fox News would fire after the Dominion defamation case settlement, Tucker Carlson was probably last on my list. Yes, he was caught admitting he hates Donald Trump and trying to get a reporter fired for telling the truth and yes, his former producer, Abby Grossberg, is suing Fox for the toxic workplace she claims to have endured. But Carlson was their top-rated host whose contract was just renewed, in 2021, and it included more content from him. Also, he is reportedly close with head honcho Lachlan Murdoch.
Fox’s press release, issued today, says only this about Carlson's exit:
FOX News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways. We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.
Mr. Carlson’s last program was Friday April 21st. Fox News Tonight will air live at 8 PM/ET starting this evening as an interim show helmed by rotating FOX News personalities until a new host is named.
This indicates that Fox wanted him gone. Notice there’s no mention of regret that he's leaving. He didn’t even have the chance to say good-bye to his viewers.
The Washington Post has a clue as to what may have caused Carlson’s sudden departure:
[I]t was Carlson’s comments about Fox management, as revealed in the Dominion case, that played a role in his departure from Fox, a person familiar with the company’s thinking told The Post.
Notably, Carlson was not allowed back on air to say goodbye to the mammoth audience he had amassed in his years as a primetime host.
The suddenness of this development is indicated by the fact that Fox was still running promos for his show this morning, as WaPo also noted. That paper also reported that Carlson’s colleagues were stunned. “We’re just learning of this like everyone else, total surprise on my end," one stunned staffer told The Post, speaking on condition of anonymity to share private insights into the newsroom, adding that colleagues were shocked as well.”
This has the potential of being better than any apology or retraction that Fox would have offered in the wake of the Dominion settlement. Whatever Fox retracted or apologized for would have been a moment in time after which the network would have gone right back to the Carlson poison it has been showcasing for so long. Not that I expect anything good from whomever replaces Carlson, I'm just somewhat hopeful for less evil.
Good riddance, Tuckums!
UPDATES: Below is Harris Faulkner's announcement of Carlson's departure.
NPR's David Folkenflik thinks the Abby Grossberg lawsuit may have more to do with Tucker's departure than the Dominion case.
Re; Tucker - It is likely that this has more to do with pending litigation - Abby Grossberg's lawsuit alleging sexism and harassment at Carlson's show - than the defamation lawsuit that just settled for $778M.— David Folkenflik (@davidfolkenflik) April 24, 2023
Yet the suits are linked... / MORE
Carlson's producer is out, too.
I can confirm this: https://t.co/oocfodcGWB— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) April 24, 2023
Why was Tucker fired?
From Los Angeles Times:
[P]eople 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 with input from board members and other Fox Corp. executives.
According to one person familiar with the discussions, Murdoch’s son Lachlan, executive chairman of Fox Corp., and Suzanne Scott, chief executive of Fox News Media, decided late Friday that Carlson had to go.
In a statement, attorneys for Grossberg suggested her suit was a key factor in Carlson’s exit.
Murdoch also was said to be concerned about Carlson’s coverage of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The host has promoted the conspiracy theory that it was provoked by government agents, and Carlson has called Ray Epps — an Arizona man who participated in the storming of the Capitol but did not enter the building — an FBI plant, without presenting any evidence.
From Vanity Fair:
Carlson has told people he doesn’t know why he was terminated. According to the source, [CEO Suzanne] Scott refused to tell him how the decision was made; she only said that it was made “from above.” Carlson has told people he believes his controversial show is being taken off the air because the Murdoch children intend to sell Fox News at some point.
WATCH: “We want to thank Tucker Carlson for his service to the network.”— TV News Now (@TVNewsNow) April 24, 2023
Fox News’ @HarrisFaulkner announces on air that Fox News and @TuckerCarlson have parted ways, effective immediately. pic.twitter.com/tQUAzSiiqp
Carlson’s exit is related to the discrimination lawsuit filed by Abby Grossberg, the producer fired by the network last month, the people said. Carlson’s senior executive producer Justin Wells has also been terminated, according to people familiar with the matter. A Fox News representative would not comment.