Tucker Carlson has left Fox News, the network that made him a right-wing political and media juggernaut, a move that shook both cable television and Republican politics Monday.
Carlson had been the most powerful figure at the network and, perhaps, in the party, the top-rated figure in news and an oft-mentioned potential candidate for president of the United States.
But he was also an employee of the Murdoch family business, which is reeling from an embarrassing, expensive defamation lawsuit and facing more legal action.
Carlson’s executive producer Justin Wells is also out at the network, according to two people familiar with the situation.
The network said in a statement Monday that they have “agreed to part ways,” with Carlson’s final show airing last Friday.
“We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor,” the statement said.
The network did not elaborate on the reason for the abrupt split with Carlson.
According to a person close to Fox leadership, he learned just this morning that he is out at the network.
“This is just classic Murdoch assassination — you’re their closest friend, their favorite child and now you’re dead,” the person said.
A rotating slate of hosts will take over Carlson’s time slot in the interim until a permanent replacement is named, Fox said.
Carlson signed off his final show by promoting his latest special, “Let Them Eat Bugs,” and saying: “We’ll be back on Monday.”
A former CNN and MSNBC host, Carlson joined Fox News in 2009, and began hosting a primetime show "Tucker Carlson Tonight" in 2016. Carlson became an influential force, often bringing far-right stances into the mainstream political conversation.
While often entangled in controversy, including backlash for making racist and sexist comments, Carlson's program was one of the most-watched cable news shows in the country. The news of his departure sparked strong reactions from politicians and media figures across the political spectrum Monday.
Carlson was a prominent supporter of Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and many of this stances and policies throughout his presidency.
He recently made headlines after old texts surfaced in which Carlson was discussing Trump in early 2021 and said, "I hate him passionately." The messages were released by Dominion Voting Systems amid its defamation suit against Fox News.
Last week, the network agreed to pay over $787 million to Dominion to settle the suit, which included claims that Carlson's show promoted harmful lies about the 2020 election.
Abby Grossberg, a producer who had worked on Carlson's show, filed lawsuits against the company last month related to the Dominion case, including claims that she and other women faced sexism and harassment from coworkers and officials.
Grossberg’s lawyer Parisis G. Filippatos said in a statement to Semafor that they were aware of reports that mention Grossberg in coverage of the Dominion lawsuit and Carlson and Wells’ departure. He said he had “no comment on those reports other than to say that timing is a matter of physics, and as such is undeniable.”