Tucker Carlson, a controversial and highly compensated figure in the world of news media, has suddenly found himself without a job.
Fox News announced on Monday morning that it had parted ways with its primetime host of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” a one-hour long nightly talk show.
According to sources familiar with contract negotiations at Fox and other networks, Carlson was earning an astonishing salary ranging from $15 million to $20 million per year, making him one of the highest paid individuals in the industry.
As one source stated, “He has more leverage than anyone else. He could pick up and go anywhere…before this.”
Carlson’s show, which has held the coveted 8 p.m. ET slot since 2017, was the second most watched show on cable last year, averaging 3.3 million viewers each night.
It was only surpassed by Fox News’ roundtable sports program, “The Five.”
Prior to hosting his own show in primetime, Carlson worked as a political analyst for Fox News, where he had been employed since 2009.
The announcement of Carlson’s departure from Fox News came suddenly, with the network issuing a brief statement that it had “agreed to part ways” with the star host, but providing no further explanation.
His last show aired on Friday, April 21, without any indication of his impending departure. Anonymous sources cited by CNN and Vanity Fair reported that Carlson was informed of the decision on Monday morning.
Fox News declined to comment further beyond the press release, and Carlson’s reported attorney, Bryan Freedman, did not respond to inquiries at the time of publication.
This turn of events comes just one week after Fox News agreed to pay Dominion Voter Systems a historic defamation settlement of $787.5 million.
Dominion had sued Fox for $1.6 billion in March 2021, alleging that the network had knowingly pushed false claims of voter fraud involving the company’s voting machines for financial gain during the 2020 election.
Court documents produced during the litigation revealed that top Fox anchors and executives, including Carlson, had privately denounced the very same voter fraud claims that the network aired. In addition, Fox News also severed ties with fellow host Dan Bongino, who hosted the Saturday night show “Unfiltered with Dan Bongino,” last Thursday. Bongino, a polarizing pundit, stated on his podcast that he and the network “couldn’t come to terms on an extension,” adding that “It’s not some big conspiracy.”
In addition to the recent legal troubles, Carlson and Fox News were sued last month by a former producer named Abby Grossberg. Grossberg accused Fox of pressuring her to provide a misleading deposition in the Dominion case, while also alleging that Carlson fostered a toxic and “overtly misogynistic” environment on set.
The departure of Carlson from Fox News marks a significant change in the landscape of news media. As one of the highest paid individuals in the industry, with a large following of viewers, his sudden exit raises questions about the future direction of Fox News and the broader landscape of cable news.
As for Carlson, with his immense popularity and financial leverage, it remains to be seen where he may land next in the world of media.