Two of America’s best known TV stars have been cut loose by their networks, sending shockwaves through the nation’s news industry.
Two of America’s best known TV stars were suddenly cut loose by their networks overnight, sending shockwaves through the country’s media industry.
Tucker Carlson, whose nightly opinion program on Fox News frequently pulled in the highest ratings in cable news, is leaving the network without a farewell show. His final broadcast was on Friday night.
“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,” the network said in a statement at about midday, New York time.
“Mr Carlson’s last program was Friday April 21. Fox News Tonight will air live at 8pm starting this evening as an interim show helmed by rotating Fox News personalities until a new host is named.”
Roughly an hour later, CNN chairman and CEO Chris Licht sent a memo to his colleagues revealing the departure of Don Lemon, a longtime host with the network who most recently featured on its revamped morning show CNN This Morning.
“CNN and Don have parted ways. Don will forever be a part of the CNN family, and we thank him for his contributions over the last 17 years. We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavours,” said Mr Licht.
“CNN This Morning has been on the air for nearly six months, and we are committed to its success.”
There was nothing in his statement about finding a replacement for Lemon. The morning show had been operating with three hosts: Lemon, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlin Collins.
I was informed by this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN. I am stunned,” he said.
“After 17 years at CNN I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly. At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to continue doing the work I have loved at the network.
“It is clear that there are some larger issues at play. With that said, I want to thank my colleagues and the many teams I have worked with for an incredible run. They are the most talented journalists in the business, and I wish them all the best.”
CNN’s public relations department then issued a response, disputing Lemon’s version of events: “Don Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate. He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter.”
The back-to-back shocks of Carlson and Lemon’s exits came a day after another media bigwig, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell, was forced out over an inappropriate relationship with a female news anchor.
Shell revealed he was resigning in a memo to staff on Sunday, admitting to the improper relationship, though the woman involved was not identified.
“Today is my last day as CEO of NBCUniversal,” said Shell.
“I had an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company, which I deeply regret.
“I’m truly sorry I let my Comcast and NBCUniversal colleagues down, they are the most talented people in the business and the opportunity to work with them the last 19 years has been a privilege.”
Shell is married. His affair was uncovered during an investigation by an outside law firm in response to a complaint made against him.
Deadline has subsequently revealed that the woman involved is Hadley Gamble, a CNBC TV anchor and accomplished international correspondent. In her role with the documentary series Access: Middle East, she has interviewed several senior global figures. Notably, she was also the last Western journalist to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin before he invaded Ukraine in early 2022.
At the time, Russian state media figures crassly (and absurdly) accused her of trying to distract Putin with her “sex appeal” and “positioning herself as a sexual object”.
“Hadley is a passionate advocate for women in the workplace and their advancement around the world,” her CNBC profile reads.
“She moderated the first ever women’s business forum in Saudi Arabia and provided exclusive content to CNBC as the Kingdom lifted its decades-old driving ban.”
Shell and Gamble reportedly had a sporadic relationship, which started about 11 years ago and ended a couple of years ago. Deadline reports email communications between the pair came to light during the outside law firm’s investigation.
“You should count on your leaders to create a safe and respectful workplace,” the CEO and President of NBCUniversal’s parent company, Comcast, wrote in a memo to staff.
“When our principles and policies are violated, we will always move quickly to take the appropriate action, as we have done here.”
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