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Tucker Carlson Is Creating a New Media Company

Author: Editors Desk Source: WSJ:
July 14, 2023 at 06:18
Tucker Carlson’s team met with a Twitter team in recent weeks to discuss the endeavor. PHOTO: BRIAN CAHN/ZUMA PRESS
Tucker Carlson’s team met with a Twitter team in recent weeks to discuss the endeavor. PHOTO: BRIAN CAHN/ZUMA PRESS
Former Fox News host and associate look to raise funds for new venture that could use Twitter as its backbone

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson and former White House adviser Neil Patel are seeking to raise funds to start a new media company that would potentially use Twitter as its backbone, according to people familiar with the matter. 

The new company would be anchored by longer versions of the free videos that Carlson has been posting regularly on Twitter since shortly after his departure from Fox News, but would ultimately be driven by subscriptions, some of the people said.

Carlson and Patel are looking to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the company, the people said. 

Users of Twitter and other platforms would still be able to watch free, shorter versions of his show, interviews and documentaries, but would need to subscribe to watch them in their entirety, the people said. The company would eventually add shows from additional hosts, they said. 

Carlson and Patel were roommates at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., from which they graduated in 1991, and in 2010 teamed up to found the conservative Daily Caller news site, which Patel still controls. They have lined up financiers, lawyers and media strategists to work on the new company, according to people familiar with the effort. 

Carlson’s team met with a Twitter team in recent weeks to discuss the endeavor, people familiar with the matter said.

Carlson and Patel’s new company would also have its own website and mobile app, and is exploring other homes beyond Twitter for its content as well, some of the people said.

 Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino has been trying to attract more creators to Twitter. PHOTO: LAURA CAVANAUGH/GETTY IMAGES
Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino has been trying to attract more creators to Twitter. PHOTO: LAURA CAVANAUGH/GETTY IMAGES

Other big stars who have left TV have built thriving digital businesses, but sometimes with smaller audiences and less influence than they had before, media observers said. Carlson and Patel’s venture will compete for eyeballs with news personalities on YouTube and Rumble, a service popular on the right, as well as with TV networks such as Fox News and Newsmax.

The new company’s potential partnership with Twitter would expand the relationship between the platform and one of its highest-profile video creators, and serve as a test case for the social media network’s video ambitions under Elon Musk. It could also complicate Twitter’s efforts to rebuild relationships with advertisers, many of which pulled back from the platform after Musk’s acquisition in October.

Musk has said he wants Twitter to be a haven of free speech, even if controversial. He has also said Carlson is one of many creators Twitter wants on its platform. “I hope that many others, particularly from the left, also choose to be content creators on this platform,” Musk tweeted in May.

Twitter on Thursday launched an ad-revenue-sharing program for creators, in an example of the company’s efforts to expand its offerings for creators. 

Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino, who also has been trying to attract more creators to Twitter, recently met with Carlson producer Justin Wells, some of the people said. 

Carlson’s team and Twitter employees have discussed the readiness of various features for watching video on the platform, including how to make it easier to watch Twitter videos on a television set, according to people familiar with the matter. 

Musk has said that expanding Twitter’s video features is part of his vision for the platform. The company in recent months has allowed subscribers who pay for its Twitter Blue service to post longer videos. Musk also recently said Twitter made it easier to watch Twitter video on a living-room television using screen-mirroring from a mobile phone, and said future improvements were coming on that front. 

Carlson’s team is wary of relying on YouTube for distribution because they believe the content is likely to be censored there, a spokesman for Carlson said. A YouTube spokeswoman said the company’s policies apply equally to everyone and they enforce them consistently, regardless of the speaker’s political views. 

Twitter and Carlson’s team have discussed potentially having a set of big brands sponsor Carlson’s show, according to people familiar with the matter. 

While at Fox, Carlson’s show faced an advertising boycott in 2018 after saying that certain immigrants made the U.S. “dirtier and more divided.” Fox at the time attributed the boycott to advocacy groups. Still, Carlson’s show brought in $77.5 million last year in advertising revenue, according to ad-tracking company Vivvix, more than all other prime-time hosts on the channel.

Twitter offers tools for advertisers who don’t want their ads to appear near certain content. Advertisers could use those tools to avoid Carlson’s content if they wanted to, people familiar with the matter said. 

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Fox removed Carlson’s show from the airwaves in April, days after the network agreed to pay $787.5 billion to settle its legal fight with Dominion Voting Systems over defamation allegations. He had occupied the 8 p.m. slot since 2017 and averaged more than three million viewers a night. Fox remains the top-rated cable-news network.

Carlson’s predecessors in the 8 p.m. slot, including Megyn Kelly and Bill O’Reilly, later signed deals with Red Seat Ventures, a company that helped them create their own media businesses. Carlson’s team is also in talks with Red Seat Ventures, according to people familiar with the matter.

Fox News parent Fox Corp. FOX 0.00%increase; green up pointing triangle and Wall Street Journal parent News Corp share common ownership. 

Carlson remains under a multiyear contract with Fox News.

Weeks after his show was canceled by Fox News, Carlson announced in a Twitter video that he would bring a version of his show to Twitter. 

Fox News in June sent Carlson’s counsel a cease-and-desist letter, Carlson’s spokesman said. Axios was the first to report on the letter. 

A lawyer for Carlson said at the time that Carlson wouldn’t “be silenced by anyone.”

A Fox News spokeswoman declined to comment. 

Patel, currently the Daily Caller’s publisher, previously worked as a lawyer and as a policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney during the George W. Bush administration. He also ran a hedge fund specializing in mortgage-backed securities for a decade starting in 2009.

Write to Keach Hagey at and Alexa Corse at

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