In some shocking news, just before the upfront advertising market is set to begin, leading cable TV prime-time news host Tucker Carlson is departing Fox News Channel, effective immediately.
A frank and spare statement from Fox News Media did not provide specific details about why Carlson is departing.
“Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways,” according to a release from Fox News Media. “We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.”
The release adds that Carlson’s last program was Friday, April 21, and that a “Fox News Tonight” show will air live at 8 p.m. ET starting on April 24 -- an interim show that will feature rotating Fox News personalities until a new host is named.
This comes on the heels of Fox Corp. settling a $787.5 million defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems.
Carlson has been linked to email and text messages coming from Dominion Voting Systems court documents -- with regard to false information airing on the Fox News Channel about Dominion’s alleged manipulation in the 2020 Presidential election.
Carlson's emails and text messages, as well as that of other on-air personalities, revealed that they -- and Fox -- knew those assertions connected to Dominion were false.
Fox settled the suit, giving Dominion $787.5 million. The original suit asked for $1.5 billion.
Fox News Channel has another defamation lawsuit from Smartmatic, another voting machine company, asking for $2.4 billion damages that has yet to get underway.
Over the past 12 months, Fox News Channel has pulled in an estimated $1.1 billion in national TV advertising, according to iSpot.tv estimates, with the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show totaling $160 million -- the leading Fox News Channel show on the network in terms of advertising revenue.
Carlson has been the leading cable TV leading prime-time news host, regularly averaging 3.0 million to 4.0 million Nielsen-measured viewers a night. Last Thursday -- the day before what would be his final broadcast -- Carlson pulled in 2.99 million viewers.
Five leading paid advertisers on the show over that period include My Pillow, Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, Balance of Nature, SuperBeets, and Relief Factor.
In November 2016, Fox News Channel started up “Tucker Carlson Tonight" at 7 PM, moving to a 9 PM time slot in January 2017, then settling at into the 8 PM slot in April 2017.