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Some big names at Fox News may be gone in the near future as well, according to a report published on Thursday.
Variety reported that a handful of current Fox News talent are contemplating throwing in with whatever project former top-rated host Tucker Carlson may be working on, which could include programming that would be broadcast on Twitter.
The report comes after Carlson strongly hinted earlier this month in a video posted to the platform that he was preparing to air a program live on Twitter.
“Carlson’s Twitter move could have additional reverberations with talent at the network. A handful of Fox anchors have reached out to Carlson directly or had their surrogates contact him to say they are eager to join whatever venture he starts on Twitter when their contracts are up, according to sources,” Variety reported.
Carlson currently remains under contract with Fox News at a reported $20 million a year, so he isn’t free to sign on with another network. Reports said his contract doesn’t expire until after the 2024 election, in January 2025.
Variety also reported that Carlson was taken off the air as a condition of Fox’s recent defamation settlement:
On April 26, Carlson spoke by phone with one of Fox Corp.’s eight board members, who told the host that his recent benching was a condition of Fox News’ settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the conversation.
The unnamed board member told Carlson that the condition does not appear in any of the settlement’s documents, and instead was a verbal agreement. If Fox didn’t comply, the settlement was off, Carlson was told. Dominion had plenty of leverage given that the $787.5 million deal to settle Dominion’s defamation suit against the network wouldn’t officially close until late May.
The outlet went on to report that while Dominion’s defamation claims rested mostly on accusations aired post-2020 election on programs hosted by Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, and Maria Bartiromo, the company wanted to hurt Fox and, as such, chose to press the network into cutting ties with its most popular talent: Carlson.
“That condition was intended to hurt Fox, and Tucker is just collateral damage,” a source familiar with the matter told Variety. “Dominion wanted to punish Fox, and it’s working.”
Both Fox and Dominion have denied that Carlson’s dismissal was part of the settlement agreement.
According to sources close to him, Carlson is reportedly considering the possibility of creating his own direct-to-consumer media platform, where his large fan base could pay to watch him. The model was previously used by Carlson’s predecessor on Fox News, Bill O’Reilly, who is currently hosting a show during Carlson’s old timeslot for The First TV, which recently became available on DirecTV.
Axios — and others — reported that Carlson has already been contacted by multiple outlets, including the Rumble streaming platform, Newsmax TV, and Valuetainment, and have offered to pay him more per year than Fox is shelling out.
In a video posted to Twitter this month, Carlson said, “There aren’t many platforms left that allow free speech. The last big one remaining in the world is Twitter. If you bump up against the limits [in the news business] you will be fired for it.”
“The rule of what you can’t say defines everything,” he said, adding, “You can’t have a free society if people aren’t allowed to say what they think is true… There aren’t many platforms left that allow free speech. The last big one… is Twitter, where we are now.”
“Starting soon, we’ll be bringing a new version of the show we’ve been doing for the last six and a half years to Twitter,” Carlson added. “We’ll be bringing some other things too, which we’ll tell you about. But for now, we’re just grateful to be here. Free speech is the main right that you have, without it, you have no others. See you soon.”