Less than two months after Fox News parted ways with its star television personality Tucker Carlson, the host uploaded the first “episode” of his new show to Twitter. Carlson spent the majority of the 10-minute video, posted yesterday (June 6), monologuing about distrust in the media, UFOs and the war between Russia and Ukraine.
In 2022, FOX (FOXA)’s Tucker Carlson Tonight averaged 3.3 million viewers. Because Fox and Twitter count viewership and share data in different manners, the two aren’t directly comparable. But the engagement on Carlson’s post does suggest there is still demand for his on-air opinions. Twenty-two hours after Carlson shared the video, his post had 85.6 million views, 680,000 likes and 205,000 retweets and quote tweets. An individual user can contribute more than one “view” but only one “like.” In the last day, he gained 300,000 followers on Twitter, bringing his total to 8 million.
Fox cut Carlson in the wake of the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit settlement, in which the network agreed to pay the voting machine company $787 million to settle defamation claims. The host became entangled in the lawsuit when his personal text messages leaked, revealing his distaste for Donald Trump and his desire to appease his audience regarding election coverage. Had Fox not reached a settlement, Carlson would have testified in court. The decision to chop Carlson could have also been influenced by his reported lack of respect for Fox executives.
Carlson announced he would move his show to Twitter on May 9. He gained 400,000 followers within the next day.
The relaunch on Twitter could result in Carlson reaching more viewers than he did on Fox. Tucker Carlson Tonight required a television service or streaming subscription to watch, while viewing content on Twitter is free. Carlson’s video was also notably shorter than episodes of Tucker Carlson Tonight, which lasted 60 minutes each, including commercials. His previous Fox show ran every weeknight, and it is unclear how frequently Carlson will post Twitter episodes.
Carlson goes country
The first episode unveiled new branding for the host. His new show is named Tucker on Twitter. Carlson sat at a round table made of light wood that matched the walls behind him, in what looked like the inside of a cabin. In the background, there was an oar, a kerosene lamp and shelves of books. Green trees peeked through windows. The scene—which teetered on the edge of looking AI-generated—stands in sharp contrast to the staging at Tucker Carlson Tonight, where the host appeared in front of a U.S. Capitol building image, surrounded by colors of the American flag.
His content, however, didn’t change much. Carlson kept the same sarcastic monologue with furrowed brows that he has become known for. He opened his video with criticism of how media outlets covered various attacks in the war between Russia and Ukraine, including the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam yesterday and the Nord Stream pipeline explosion last year. He called Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s president, “sweaty and rat-like.”
Carlson shifted to discussing a report from a former U.S. intelligence official that the government is hiding an alien aircraft. Carlson spoke in absolutes—”it was clear (the officer) was telling the truth” and “UFOs are actually real.” He criticized the New York Times and the Washington Post for not picking up the story. “In a normal country, this news would qualify as a bombshell—the story of the millennium—but in our country, it doesn’t,” he said.
The host plans to continue publishing on Twitter, he said.