Tucker Carlson, a Fox News primetime host whose show delivered the second highest news viewership in the U.S. last year, is no longer employed at Fox.
The company and Carlson “have agreed to part ways,” according to a company statement. The popular right-wing host had been working for the network since 2009 and launched his show Tucker Carlson Tonight in 2016. The last program aired April 21, before Carlson reportedly learned about the decision.
The move follows Fox News’s $787 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, the voting machine company that sued Fox over its coverage of the 2020 election. Leading up to the scheduled trial, leaked personal texts from Carlson revealed his distaste for former President Donald Trump and his desire to appease his audience regarding election coverage. Had Fox not reached a settlement with Dominion, Carlson would have testified in court.
The host is known for his conservative opinions that often spark more coverage from other outlets. On his show, he was a huge proponent of Trump, questioned U.S. support towards Ukraine and got wrapped up in the culture war with M&M’s. Carlson also drew huge audiences to Fox. In 2022, Tucker Carlson Tonight averaged 3.3 million viewers, beating out news shows from all competing networks and standing only second to Fox’s The Five. In previous years, Carlson’s show ranked No. 1. It is unclear if Fox will be able to fill Carlson’s primetime slot with talent that can build the same audience he did.
A program of rotating Fox personalities, called Fox News Tonight, will replace Carlson’s time slot until the company names a new host. The network gave no indication as to why it made the decision. Fox’s stock fell 3.4 percent following the announcement.
Last year, Tucker Carlson Tonight didn’t sell as many ads as it did previously, but the show still surpassed the ad sales from other Fox programs. Carlson’s show accounted for 16 percent of Fox News’s total ad revenue in 2020, according to analytics firm iSpot.tv and reported on by Forbes. In 2020, it sold $108.3 million in advertisements, which is lower than the $190 million sold in 2018 but higher than shows from hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, according to Forbes. Last year, Tucker Carlson Tonight contributed to $77.5 million in revenue, higher than Hannity’s and Ingraham’s ad sales, Variety reported.
Justin Wells, Carlson’s executive producer, is also out at Fox, according to Semafor.