Fox News, the US media giant, has announced the departure of Tucker Carlson, one of the highest-rated TV hosts in the US.
The network and Carlson have agreed to “part ways” and his last TV programme was on Friday, 21 April. Carlson’s primetime slot will now be hosted by a series of interim hosts until a permanent replacement is found. However, the brief two-paragraph statement gave no reason for his departure.
Carlson’s departure is significant as he was not only a popular evening news programme presenter but also a historically influential one.
His shows frequently set the agenda for conservatives and, by extension, the Republican Party. Carlson’s programme made up four of the top ten rated programmes on US cable TV.
According to Nielson data for the week 27 March to 2 April, he was Fox News’ top-rated host, with more than three million viewers tuning in on an average night.
The announcement comes just days after Fox News settled a defamation lawsuit from the voting machine company Dominion over its coverage of the 2020 presidential election. Dominion argued that Fox News spread false claims its machines were rigged against Donald Trump.
Carlson’s private views contrasted with his on-air output, as revealed by text messages disclosed during the lawsuit.
Additionally, Fox News is facing a lawsuit filed in March by former booker Abby Grossberg, in which she accused Carlson of “vile sexist stereotypes.” Fox News has counter-sued and said it would “vigorously defend these claims.”
Why did Tucker Carlson leave Fox News?
Carlson’s departure appears to have been sudden and came without the usual farewell that might be expected from a long-serving presenter.
A video shared on Twitter by journalist Aaron Rupar appears to show Mr Carlson ending his show on Friday with the words “we’ll be back on Monday.” Fox Corporation – Fox News’ parent company – saw its share price fall about 4% in the wake Mr Carlson’s departure.
The exact reason for his depature remains unknown