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Elon Musk says Twitter didn’t sign deal with Tucker Carlson

The affirmation came after the former Fox News commentator said he was bringing his commentary show to the social media platform.

The affirmation came after the former Fox News commentator said he was bringing his commentary show to the social media platform.

Former Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson appears at an event in 2022. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)
Former Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson appears at an event in 2022. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Former Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson has unveiled plans to relaunch a version of his prime-time opinion program on the social media platform Twitter.

The affirmation was made Tuesday in a video that spanned more than two minutes, and followed an earlier proclamation by Carlson that his show would return in some form after his abrupt termination from Fox News Media last month.

Shortly after Carlson’s announcement, Twitter was abuzz with unfounded speculation that the social media company’s owner and CEO Elon Musk must have made some kind of deal to bring the former Fox News personality’s show to the platform.

“The core miscalculation Elon Musk has made here is that, in 2023, there are still more linear TV households that know when, where and how to tune into Fox News than when, where and how to tune in to Twitter,” media analyst Andrew Rosen, who contributes to the tech website The Information, said, though he provided no insight into how he knew for sure that Musk had made such a deal.

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On Tuesday, Musk ended any apparent speculation on the matter when he definitively said Twitter had no arrangement with Carlson to support his show financially or through any other means.

“We have not signed a deal of any kind whatsoever,” Musk affirmed, laying to rest any suggestions that the show was being backed financially or otherwise by Twitter. “Tucker is subject to the same rules and rewards [as] all content creators.”

Musk said Carlson might be willing to participate in a forthcoming revenue share program that will see creators earn a cut of Twitter’s advertising dollars, as well as an already-existing subscription service that allows users to charge followers for exclusive content.

The end of Carlson’s working relationship with Fox News followed a decision by the channel’s parent company to settle a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems over unfounded claims of election-related fraud made on Carlson’s program and other shows.

Text messages and other documents unearthed in the defamation case showed Carlson disparaging several Fox executives, managers and other employees, and the material was used to prove Carlson violated a non-disparagement clause in his contract, leading to his termination.

On Tuesday, reports surfaced that indicated Carlson was willing to forego $25 million in severance pay if Fox allowed him to exit his contract early. No one at Fox has spoken publicly about whether Carlson’s contract included a severance package, or if he’s entitled to it, given the grounds for his dismissal.

The decision to move his show to Twitter, coupled with the lack of any business arrangement between the platform and Carlson, leaves open the idea that his online show could be licensed out to traditional television broadcasters. Carlson’s predecessor at Fox, Bill O’Reilly, licenses his hour-long topical show “No Spin News” to The First TV, a streaming conservative network that recently gained carriage on DirecTV.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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