In a major media shakeup, Fox News announced on Monday that it is parting ways with Tucker Carlson. Carlson had been at the network for 14 years as both a contributor and host, and his eponymous program, Tucker Carlson Tonight, was consistently the highest-rated show in all of cable news. His last day on the air was Friday.
The network issued a brief statement to share the news: “Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways. We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.” It also said that a “rotation of various Fox News personalities” would host an interim program, Fox News Tonight, in the 8pm ET time slot “until a permanent replacement for Carlson is named.”
Word of Carlson’s departure came down just moments before Megyn was set to go on air, and she opened Monday’s show with her reaction to the news. Calling it an “absolute bombshell in the media world,” Megyn offered her thoughts on what may be behind the split and why she believes it is a “terrible move” by Fox News.
What Led to Carlson’s Departure?
Based on the way the situation was handled, Megyn believes the call to part ways came from Fox News – not Carlson. The host ended his Friday show by telling the audience he’d be back on Monday, which would lead one to assume he was unaware of what was to come. “I don’t know the actual circumstances, but the fact that he said this on Friday night before he signed off suggests to me this was a management decision,” she noted.
Additionally, it was announced that Carlson’s last show was Friday, which means he does not have the opportunity to address his audience. “I can speak from personal experience on this because… even understanding that I was leaving [Fox News] and that I was basically quitting, they let me say a goodbye to the audience,” Megyn explained. “They did not say, ‘Get out.’”
Megyn admitted that she doesn’t know what led Fox News to this decision, but it comes just days after the network settled a defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million. “If this is a reaction to the Dominion lawsuit, why is Maria Bartiromo there? Why is Jeanine Pirro still there? Why is Suzanne Scott still there, the CEO of Fox News,” Megyn asked. “[Scott] got them in far more trouble with her executive emails panicking about Dominion and the audience than anything Tucker did behind the scenes.” In fact, “Tucker Carlson was one of the few who went on the air and said, ‘Sidney Powell is a liar… and I’ve seen the proof and don’t believe her,’” she added. “He was not the reason for that $800 million settlement.”
Carlson has long been a lightning rod for criticism and controversy, but that is not something that used to bother Fox News. “I realize the left hates Tucker’s guts; I get that this is a joyful day for them,” she said. “But internally at Fox, they always had that gauge – at least under Roger Ailes – of how to ignore those critics and do what was right for the channel, and the audience, and the truth.”
What the Parting Means for Carlson and Fox News
If the Fox News-Dominion lawsuit has anything to do with Carlson leaving the network, Megyn sees an ironic parallel. “The irony here is how did they get in trouble with Dominion,” she asked. “They called Arizona too soon… the audience started to leave them in droves because they felt betrayed… [Fox News] went into a panic as their audience started to flee and then over-corrected by covering the claims about Dominion as though they were plausible and gave way too much credence to some of those claims on the air.”
Flash forward to Monday, and it looks like Fox News is once again misreading the situation. “What do they do now in the wake of that settlement? They get rid of Tucker,” Megyn explained. “Talk about misjudging your audience yet again because, trust me, I hear from the Fox News audience – with whom I still have great relationships, many viewers are now my fans on this show – he’s the only reason they watch.” With that in mind, Megyn believes “this is a massive error” and “massive misjudgment” on the part of Fox News. “This is a terrible move by Fox, and it’s a great thing for Tucker Carlson,” she shared.
Megyn foresees Carlson having much success in the independent media space, should he choose to go that direction. “I predict Tucker goes independent, launches a podcast or digital show, and crushes it,” she noted. “He can make huge money in the independent lane as long as he has a fan base – which he clearly does – and over here in this lane, he doesn’t have anybody telling him what he can or cannot say.”
You can check out Megyn’s full analysis of the media shakeups by tuning in to episode 535 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.