In a statement e-mailed to The Desk on Monday, a spokesperson for Fox News Media said Carlson’s former program, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” will be replaced with special airings of the news recap program “Fox News Tonight.” On Monday, the first episode of the program was hosted by Brian Kilmeade, who affirmed Carlson’s departure at the top of the show.
“I wish Tucker the best, I’m great friends with Tucker, and always will be,” Kilmeade said.
Carlson joined Fox News in 2009 as a correspondent who appeared on several programs before landing Tucker Carlson Tonight in 2016. One year later, he inherited the 8 p.m. time slot vacated by former commentator Bill O’Reilly, who left Fox News amid allegations of sexual harassment by female colleagues.
Carlson still had about one year left on his talent agreement with Fox News, according to two sources who spoke with The Desk. His firing came less than a week after Fox News parent company Fox Corporation settled a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems over election-related misinformation aired on Carlson’s program and others on the network. The settlement included a $787.3 million cash payment from Fox to Dominion.
According to a person familiar with the matter, Carlson was informed on Monday that text messages and e-mails made public through the lawsuit violated a non-disparagement clause in his contract with the network. The records included messages in which Carlson appeared to take issue with the network, its executives and some senior managers.
It isn’t clear if Fox News Media has approached anyone about taking over Carlson’s time slot, or how advanced those discussions are.
Like O’Reilly before him, Carlson helped keep the Fox News Channel on the top of the cable news ratings pile with his 8 p.m. show, often pulling more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined. His ratings were largely unscathed by the Dominion lawsuit, with viewers mostly shrugging off the scandal.