Since Fox News “parted ways” with Tucker Carlson, the network has attempted to downplay the situation, especially the potential impact the decision could have on its bottom line.
But inside the network the panic button is being smashed behind closed doors.
And now one top Trump ally just revealed the harsh truth Fox News is learning after firing Tucker Carlson.
As the dust starts to settle in the wake of Fox News’ bewildering decision to move on from the most popular primetime host in cable news, Tucker Carlson, one lingering question remains – what will he do next?
Reports have indicated that, at least in the immediate future, Carlson won’t exactly be going anywhere as he’s still under contract with Fox News through the 2024 election.
The host has reportedly retained attorney Bryan Freedman, who has burnished quite the reputation as being one of the top attorneys in the nation for contractual law in the media industry, to free him from the contract and avoid being sidelined through the election.
While most everyone assumes Carlson and Fox News will reach an agreement that allows him to head to whatever his next gig may be, the network does have plenty of reason to keep him sidelined.
For starters, Carlson is the most influential personality in cable news, and the replacements the network has thus far rolled out to fill his shoes haven’t come close to living up to their predecessor.
In fact, in the first three days following Carlson’s ouster, Fox News’ viewership was down nearly 60%, plummeting the network into a third place position in the cable TV ratings that once seemed unthinkable.
And that’s teaching Fox News a hard lesson – as Breaking Points host Saagar Enjeti pointed out – that replacing Carlson will not be as easy as it was for the host to replace Bill O’Reilly in 2017.
“I’m getting increasingly annoyed by the idea that this is just O’Reilly again,” Enjeti told Puck News. “I mean, 2017 was a media eternity ago. It was during the Trump cable news boom. That doesn’t exist [anymore]. Fox is literally facing more competition than ever before on linear and online. Their ratings with younger viewers are anemic. Their talent bench does not exist at the same level as 2017. And Trump is not gonna ride in and save them this time around.”
On top of that, when Fox News decided to fire O’Reilly, Carlson had been hosting his show in a different time slot for six months – which coincided with the first six months after Trump’s 2016 victory, allowing Carlson to explode in popularity quickly, thanks to his talent – but no such host exists in the network’s current lineup.
Furthermore, O’Reilly was fired amidst reports he paid tens of millions of dollars to settle numerous sexual harassment claims while Carlson was fired for being – as former Trump advisor Steve Bannon explained – ”the populist voice, the anti-Ukraine voice, the anti-uniparty voice” in media.
A source close to the situation told Puck News as much, explaining that Carlson’s situation is far different than most any other popular media figure who finds themselves on the sidelines, as he isn’t being “canceled” and certainly didn’t fail at his job.
“Other people are usually in this position because of some sort of indiscretion or they are just generally failing at their job,” the source explained. “So they have limited options. That’s not his situation.”
Puck News also reported that a separate source close to Trump told the outlet that the painful lessons Fox Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch is going to learn from this ordeal will only get worse once Carlson begins his next venture.
“Rupert is going to understand what ‘f**k around and find out’ is all about,” the source told Puck News.
While most are looking for Carlson to land at another major network or media brand, it is important to note that he is likely better suited for the independent media route.
After all, he is a co-founder of the Daily Caller, and with other figures like Joe Rogan and Ben Shapiro demonstrating the type of media empires that can be built outside the traditional media landscape, Carlson could very well opt to never have to answer to anyone but himself and his audience ever again.
No matter what, though, it’s only a matter of time before Tucker Carlson comes back to haunt Fox News in a major way.
Political Animal News will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.