Fox News announced on Monday that the network and its prime-time anchor Tucker Carlson have mutually agreed to end their association after more than a decade.
“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 US broadcaster said, adding that Carlson aired his final show last Friday.
Fox expressed gratitude to Carlson “for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.”
Neither Fox nor Carlson have offered an explanation for the break-up. The network did say that last Friday’s episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight will be the last, and that a newscast will be aired in its stead starting Monday evening.
Shares in the network’s parent company, Fox Corporation, slid by 4.7% after the announcement.
Carlson had given no hints of the show ending last week, announcing instead a new season of his documentary series for Fox, titled Tucker Carlson Originals. On Friday, he gave a keynote speech at the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, again not mentioning anything about parting ways with Fox.
In the absence of an official explanation, there has been widespread speculation that the break-up might be related to a recent lawsuit against Fox by Dominion Voting Systems. The company had sued the network for defamation in a Delaware court, alleging that Fox hosts had promoted “baseless” claims by former president Donald Trump about the 2020 election. Fox settled the lawsuit for $787.5 million last week.
Over the weekend, a prominent congresswoman also argued Carlson should not be allowed on air under federal law.
“When you look at what Tucker Carlson and some of these other folks on Fox do, it is very, very clearly incitement of violence – very clearly incitement of violence. And that is the line that we have to be willing to contend with,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, told former White House press secretary Jen Psaki, now a host on the rival cable channel MSNBC.
Declaring itself “the sworn enemy of lying, pomposity, smugness and groupthink,” Carlson’s evening show first aired in 2016 and quickly became the most popular in the Fox News lineup. In June 2020, he set the record for the highest-rated quarter of any cable news program, averaging 4.33 million viewers. His recent interview with Donald Trump drew an audience of 6.7 million.
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