In a shocking announcement that rocked conservatives and the media industry yesterday, April 24, Fox News issued a brusque statement announcing it would “part ways” with Tucker Carlson, the host of its most highly rated program. “We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor,” then added, “Mr. Carlson’s last program was Friday, April 21.”
The popular TV host is fresh off a dazzling weekend as the featured speaker to an august group of conservatives at The Heritage Foundation’s 50th Anniversary gala. Love or hate him – there can be no argument about Carlson’s draw as a television host. For the previous week, the Tucker Carlson Tonight show ended the period with a 334 market share during prime time – essentially blowing everyone else out of the water, according to industry analyst TV Newser. For comparison purposes, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 show recorded a 115 share.
Mr. Carlson consistently attracted more viewers than any other cable program. Thus, it came as a jolt when Fox News made the announcement. It’s extremely rare for a media outlet to dump the host of its most highly rated program. Fox has consistently led the cable news ratings war, and Carlson undisputedly was one of the main reasons for their success. According to Neilson ratings, Fox ended the week of April 10 with a total of 2.12 million viewers in primetime.
So the question is, who dumped whom and why? It seems unlikely that Mr. Carlson would initiate such an action unless there were some sort of behind-the-scenes editorial argument between the two parties. It appears more likely the move came from Fox, which recently settled out of court with election industry titan Dominion Voting Systems for the massive sum of $787.5 million. CBS News speculated that the two events were connected, writing, “The company [Dominion] specified 20 broadcasts that it said were defamatory, including a January 26, 2021, episode of Carlson’s show featuring MyPillow founder Mike Lindell.” If the dumping of Carlson is connected to the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit settlement, other Fox hosts listed in the legal action had better watch their backs.
Not His First Rodeo
Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson is no stranger to controversy and has had a rocky relationship with many of his employers. Between 2001 and 2005, he served as co-host of Crossfire, a political point-counterpoint program airing on CNN. The two parted ways in 2005 when Carlson’s contract was not renewed by the cable news outfit. It is unclear which party initiated that move. During that same period, the Yale law school grad hosted a program on PBS titled Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered, which didn’t last long.
Then in 2005, Carlson arrived at MSNBC as host of The Situation With Tucker Carlson. This show was also canceled by the cable news network in 2008, ostensibly due to low ratings. Finally, in 2009, Mr. Carlson was hired by Fox and served as a contributor, where he appeared as a guest on several of Fox’s most prominent programs. Then in 2016, Murdoch and sons hired him to host his own program, which ran until last Friday, April 21.
The 53-year-old host signed a new contract with Fox News in 2021 for a reported $6 million a year, according to Business Insider, but Yahoo News puts his salary at $8 million. Either way, this would have made him the highest-paid host at the cable news network; still, it’s unclear whether the house that Rupert Murdoch built had to pay up to ditch Carlson. There was no announcement from either party about a monetary settlement regarding the split at the time of this writing. Multiple media sources put the conservative journalist’s net worth at approximately $30 million.
Just hours after the announcement Fox Corp. stock was getting hammered as Class A shares initially sank 5.4% – a loss of almost $1 billion, according to the Washington Examiner. The stock rebounded briefly cutting the estimated losses to a mere $500 million. However, Fox is likely to take more than just a financial hit with this move as conservatives are becoming less and less satisfied with the cable outlet.
The Man the Left Loves to Hate
CNN branded Tucker Carlson a “right-wing extremist” – a label most likely seen as a badge of honor by the controversial journalist. NBC calls him a “conservative firebrand,” but the coup de grâce comes from The New York Times, which averred Carlson’s popular program “may be the most racist show in the history of cable news.” The Times also claimed the Fox deathblow was a surprise on Monday morning and reported senior executive producer Justin Wells was dumped simultaneously.
There is likely no end to the schadenfreude emanating from the left in this unceremonious dumping of Tucker Carlson. Yet it would be premature to count him out, for Carlson is a fearless, bold, and spirited man of conviction who is likely to rise again.
All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Liberty Nation.
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