(CBrief) – Several media reports indicate that a few present Fox News personalities have entertained the idea of leaving the network to join former highly-rated host Tucker Carlson, who has been posting a version of his show on Twitter for months despite warnings from Fox.
“Carlson’s Twitter move could have additional reverberations with talent at the network. A handful of Fox anchors have reached out to Carlson directly or had their surrogates contact him to say they are eager to join whatever venture he starts on Twitter when their contracts are up, according to sources,” Variety reported.
At present, Carlson remains under contract with Fox for a purported $20 million per year. As such, he’s not free to sign up with another network. Reports said his contract doesn’t expire until after the 2024 election, in January 2025.
Variety added that Dominion Voting System’s defamation claims against Fox News rested mostly on accusations aired post-2020 election on programs hosted by Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, and Maria Bartiromo. But the company wanted to hurt Fox and, as such, chose to press the network into cutting ties with its most popular talent: Carlson.
“That condition was intended to hurt Fox, and Tucker is just collateral damage,” a source familiar with the matter told Variety at the time.
“Dominion wanted to punish Fox, and it’s working,” the source added, referencing Fox’s meteorite decline in viewership in the weeks after taking Carlson off the air.
Variety also reported:
On April 26, Carlson spoke by phone with one of Fox Corp.’s eight board members, who told the host that his recent benching was a condition of Fox News’ settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the conversation.
The unnamed board member told Carlson that the condition does not appear in any of the settlement’s documents, and instead was a verbal agreement. If Fox didn’t comply, the settlement was off, Carlson was told. Dominion had plenty of leverage given that the $787.5 million deal to settle Dominion’s defamation suit against the network wouldn’t officially close until late May.
Both Fox and Dominion have denied that Carlson’s dismissal was part of the settlement agreement.
Carlson gave an update on why the network took him off the air in late April during an interview with British comedian and actor Russell Brand during the latter’s podcast.
During one segment of the show, Carlson said he doesn’t know precisely why he was fired but has a good idea about it, adding that he is not angry over the parting of ways.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” Carlson said on Brand’s podcast, “Stay Free,” the former host’s first public interview since being axed by Fox, Newsmax reported. “They didn’t agree with me, of course, I don’t think.”
“It’s not the first time I’ve been fired … when you say what you think, there’s an expectation you can get fired. I didn’t expect to get fired that morning at all, so I was shocked. But I wasn’t really shocked … I wasn’t mad,” he noted further.
“The only thing that bothers me? I’m 54. When you get a little bit older … you can lose your drive … It’s a little bit too nice,” he said regarding his now-extended vacation in Maine, which has been filled with fishing and eating late breakfasts, he said. “My only fear has been … being a little bit too happy.”
Fox News’ revamped primetime lineup outperformed competitors in July.
After Carlson’s program was canceled, “Fox News Tonight” temporarily filled the time slot with rotating hosts. On July 17, “Jesse Watters Primetime” made its debut in that time slot, averaging 2.4 million viewers on a weekly basis.
Greg Gutfeld’s time slot was also moved up an hour to 10 p.m. ET. In the 25-54 demographic, Gutfeld! averaged 1.98 million viewers and 252,000 viewers. With the latter, it finished behind Fox News’ “The Five,” which averaged 254,000, in that category. “The Five” had an average of 2.59 million viewers, making it the most-watched cable news program.