Fox News Media has announced that Tucker Carlson and the network have agreed to part ways. This news comes as a seismic shake-up in the cable news world, given Carlson’s status as the network’s most-watched anchor. Carlson’s final broadcast of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” aired last Friday, and the show “Fox News Tonight” is set to air as an interim show led by rotating hosts until his successor in the 8 p.m. time slot is named.
Carlson’s History at Fox News
Carlson joined Fox News as a contributor in 2009 and served as a co-host of “Fox and Friends Weekend” from 2012 to 2016. His eponymous nightly show debuted in November 2016, and he moved into the 8 p.m. slot in April 2017. Carlson has been a fixture of cable news for decades, hosting shows on CNN, MSNBC, and PBS before he joined Fox News. He also co-founded the conservative website The Daily Caller, which launched in 2010. Carlson stepped down from day-to-day oversight of the website after landing his show on Fox News and sold his stake in the outlet in 2020.
Dominion Voting Systems Lawsuit
News of Carlson’s departure from Fox News comes days after the network reached a $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems. The voting technology company filed a lawsuit against the cable news giant in March 2021, accusing it of knowingly airing false statements claiming Dominion helped to rig the 2020 presidential election against former President Donald Trump. The company specified 20 broadcasts that it said were defamatory, including a Jan. 26, 2021, episode of Carlson’s show featuring MyPillow founder Mike Lindell. Dominion and Fox News reached a settlement agreement just before lawyers for the two sides were set to deliver opening statements in Delaware state court last week.
At Fox News, Carlson was the network’s most popular host, with his primetime show drawing more than 3 million viewers nightly. But he also attracted controversy, including for demeaning comments about immigrants, people of color, and women. Recently, Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike criticized Carlson for attempting to downplay the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol after he aired selected snippets from 41,000 hours of security footage from the day of the riots. Carlson claimed surveillance video from the Capitol showed “mostly peaceful chaos” inside the building, and said most who breached the Capitol were “orderly and meek.” His portrayal earned widespread pushback, including from GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who called the claims “bulls**t,” and Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, who said it’s “just a lie” to put the Jan. 6 attack in the same category as a protest.
Abby Grossberg’s Lawsuit
Carlson has also been named as a defendant in a federal lawsuit filed by the former head of booking for his show, Abby Grossberg, who alleged she endured a misogynistic and hostile environment while working on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” Grossberg previously worked for CBS News.
Tucker Carlson’s departure from Fox News is a significant change in the cable news landscape, given his status as the network’s most-watched anchor. Carlson’s history at Fox News has been eventful, with controversies surrounding him, including the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit and his comments on the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. Carlson’s departure will leave a significant gap in the Fox News lineup, and it will be interesting to see who the network selects as his replacement.