In a move that sent shockwaves through the media industry, Fox News and Tucker Carlson abruptly parted ways in late April. Carlson had been at Fox News 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. Megyn called the decision a “terrible move” for the cable news channel.
At the time, Fox News issued a brief statement thanking the primetime host for this “service” but provided no further details about the reason for the split. To this day, there has been no reason given, which Megyn believes is “disrespectful” to both the audience and Carlson.
On Monday’s show, Carlson joined Megyn to discuss his new streaming service, Tucker Carlson Network, how he feels about his departure from Fox News, and what he thinks really happened.
Carlson Canceled by Fox News
Carlson learned his show was being taken off the air – effective immediately – on a Monday morning. The move was sudden, and he was not given the opportunity to say goodbye to his audience. “I was obviously surprised; I wasn’t expecting it at all,” he said. “I was shocked for like the first, like, eight minutes, and then I called my wife. She was thrilled.”
As Carlson explained, he was an employee of Fox News and he “served at the pleasure” of his employer. With some three decades in the industry under his belt, Carlson said he knows very few people get to leave “voluntarily” and on their own terms. “You’re one of the only people I’ve ever met who made it to the top and then left it,” he told Megyn. “That’s not the course of events for most people in TV.”
For most, he said, there is some “massive scandal” that forces them out of their job. Comparatively, he felt like he “got out pretty well” because he “didn’t do anything bad… other than have, you know, naughty opinions.”
With that said, he is still not sure why he was taken off the air. “I sincerely don’t know why they canceled the show,” Carlson said. “And I would absolutely say so if I did know because I want to be as honest as I can be, but I don’t.”
Megyn said the situation makes little sense. “They don’t normally fire you when you’re at the top of your game, when you are the ratings king, when you’re making news,” she noted. “You were the most relevant thing on Fox… This was a powerhouse that they ended – what felt to most of us – clear out of the blue.”
Carlson wondered if the success was part of the problem. “You can flip it around if you were speculating and imagine that maybe being the top show is not a strength but potentially a weakness – maybe that’s a problem,” he said. “If you’re like languishing at 2pm on the weekends and you’ve got naughty thoughts, they can put up with it; but if you have a much larger audience, then [the network is] hearing about it a lot.”
For all the talk about “naughty thoughts,” Carlson said Fox News never interfered with what he did and did not say on the air. “I should say, Fox never tried to tell me what to say,” he shared. “I wouldn’t put up with it for a minute anyway, but they didn’t – good for them.”
But that is not to say he doesn’t think were expressing their dissatisfaction with his viewpoints. “I had heterodox views on Ukraine, I had heterodox views on the COVID vaccine, immigration, January 6… I interviewed Kanye [West], I interviewed [Donald] Trump, I interviewed Elon [Musk],” Carlson noted. “It could be a lot of different things. I had a lot of different opinions that some people didn’t like.”
Rather than have a conversation with him about it, Carlson said those people took a “dishonorable” approach. “Everyone’s got my [phone number]… so you can always text me or call me and say, you know, ‘I think you’re awful’ or ‘I disagree with you on this and here’s why,’” he said. “But rather than do that, they took this much more… dishonorable approach, which is, you know, b-tch to your boss… I don’t respect that at all.”
In Carlson’s view, politicians were especially guilty of this. “It’s the people you would imagine, you know, Mitch McConnell or that weird guy from Wisconsin [Paul Ryan] who was [speaker of the House] for a while – people like that,” he said. “What bothers me on a human level is if you don’t like what I think, say it to me. But they never will because they’re cowards.”
While there were many stories leaked about Carlson in the wake of his Fox News split, he said he remains largely oblivious to them. “I don’t think I’ve ever read anything about myself… because I know who I am,” he shared. “I care about what my family and friends think and that’s kind of it, so I don’t really know what they said about me.”
When it comes to his employment status, Carlson said he’s “not working” for Fox News and “didn’t violate” his contract. Instead, he’s moved on to his X (formerly known as Twitter) show and, as of Monday, Tucker Carlson Network (you can learn more about that here). “[That situation is] one of those mysteries that I’ll probably never get to the bottom of and I’ve stopped even thinking about it,” Carlson added.
Ultimately, Megyn said that is what has “bothered” her throughout the saga. “It’s a brutal, toxic business and anybody can be asked to leave for whatever reason at any time, but the disrespect they showed to the audience and, in my view, to you in not giving you an answer, a reason was unforgivable,” she concluded. “You’re not bitter, but I’m bitter on your behalf.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Carlson by tuning in to episode 683 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.