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Don Lemon, Tucker Carlson hire top media lawyer

Los Angeles-based Bryan Freedman has represented cable news talent in the past, including Megyn Kelly and Chris Cuomo.

Los Angeles-based Bryan Freedman has represented cable news talent in the past, including Megyn Kelly and Chris Cuomo.

Bryan J. Freedman, an entertainment and media attorney based in Los Angeles, appears in an undated photograph. (Courtesy image, Graphic by The Desk)
Bryan J. Freedman, an entertainment and media attorney based in Los Angeles, appears in an undated photograph. (Courtesy image, Graphic by The Desk)

Former Fox News Channel commentator Tucker Carlson and CNN journalist Don Lemon have retained a top entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles just days after their firings.

The attorney, Bryan Freedman, has represented top media figures and celebrities in the past, including former Fox News host Megyn Kelly, ex-CNN personality Chris Cuomo and film stars Julia Roberts, Seth Rogen and Quinten Tarantino.

It wasn’t clear why Carlson and Lemon, both fired Monday, had retained Freedman for his services, but the hiring of one of Hollywood’s biggest entertainment attorneys suggests one or both may be preparing to sue the networks they once called home.

As of Wednesday evening, neither Carlson nor Lemon had filed wrongful termination suits in state or federal court where the networks are based.

Carlson was abruptly dismissed Monday morning as he was preparing a broadcast of his prime-time show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” Carlson was told his dismissal was due to violations of a non-disparagement clause in his contract, according to people familiar with the matter. Executives notified Carlson of his termination around 10 minutes before a spokesperson for Fox News Media issued a press release announcing Carlson and Fox News had “parted ways.”

About an hour later, Lemon issued a statement via Twitter in which he affirmed he had been dismissed from CNN. No reason was given for his firing. The timing of his termination appeared to be coincidental.

Both Carlson and Lemon still had time remaining on their contracts — Carlson’s contract was set to expire next year, and he was preparing to negotiate an extension; Lemon still had several years left on his talent agreement with CNN — and the early termination of their working agreements could set the stage for a lawsuit, should either or both men decide to bring them.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).