With his shock exit from Fox News on Monday, Tucker Carlson becomes the hottest free agent in cable news.
The 53-year-old has dramatically left Fox following a series of recent controversies – and only learned he was out hours before network’s announcement. But the anchor, who reportedly earned upwards of $10 million per year as host of Tucker Carlson Tonight, is unlikely to be off screens for long.
A long line of cable news outlets and media organizations, including Newsmax and NewsNation, are already eyeing up Carlson, hoping to recruit America’s best-known political commentator.
And he can also consider the option of going it alone through online shows and podcasts – which would undoubtedly attract the financial support of wealthy conservative activists.
There’s also an outside chance Carlson could embark on his own political career with a shot at the White House. He’s regularly been touted as a potential Republican candidate in recent years.
Tucker Carlson’s departure from Fox News might be unexpected – but he won’t be short of job prospects, with a job for a rival, his own project, or a presidential bid all very much a possibility
Carlson signed off his final broadcast on Friday, April 21 (pictured) with the message: ‘we’ll be back!’ He’s said to have been blindsided by Fox’s decision to cut ties
Fox announced on Monday that it had ‘agreed to part ways’ with Carlson – although the anchor is said to have learned about the decision just hours earlier. An interim roster of hosts will take over in his absence until a permanent replacement is chosen.
No other explanation was given for his sudden departure after seven years at the top.
Within hours, TMZ reported that NewsNation is keen to recruit Carlson – and the network also wants Don Lemon after he was fired by CNN on Monday.
Tucker Carlson broke into cable news with a stint at CNN, where he had a reputation for wearing a bow tie. Pictured in 2003
Both would likely get salaries far below what they recently earned (Lemon apparently took $7 million per year at CNN) if they joined the network.
NewsNation has form for hiring anchors who’ve left major stations under a cloud. The network signed up Chris Cuomo in October 2022 after he was fired by CNN.
NewsNation would not comment on the Carlson rumor when approached by DailyMail.com
The CEO of the right-wing Newsmax network, Christopher Ruddy, also hinted at a bid for Carlson.
Ruddy said: ‘For a while, Fox News has been moving to become establishment media, and Tucker Carlson’s removal is a big milestone in that effort. Millions of viewers who liked the old Fox News have made the switch to Newsmax, and this will only fuel that trend.’
Meanwhile One America Network, another right-wing news channel, has also offered Carlson a job.
Founder and CEO Robert Herring ‘would like to extend an invitation to Carlson to meet for negotiation to become a part of the OAN team’, according to a report about Carlson’s departure on the OAN website.
As the biggest name in cable news, Carlson is unlikely to head anywhere that can’t pay a huge salary – or offer the massive reach that he’s used to.
Fox News cut ties with Tucker Carlson after controversies including the costly Dominion lawsuit and his recent reporting about the January 6 riots
Fox News, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch (pictured), recently reached a $787 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, which sued for defamation, claiming hosts like Carlson pushed Donald Trump’s false election fraud claims
Carlson could also take the route trodden by other axed anchors and launch a podcast or his own YouTube show.
Former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly has established herself as a high-profile media personality since she departed the network in 2017. Kelly initially went to NBC News but left in 2018 after a backlash to controversial comments about blackface.
She launched a podcast, The Megyn Kelly Show, in 2020 which now airs on Sirius XM.
Bill O’Reilly was once Fox News’ biggest star before he left in 2017 following accusations of sexual misconduct. Fox paid millions of dollars to settle lawsuits brought by several of O’Reilly’s accusers.
O’Reilly, 73, launched a podcast in 2017 and also embarked on several other projects, including a radio show. The video show of his podcast has began to air on Newsmax in 2020.
Glenn Beck is another Fox alumnus whose show drew millions of viewers before he left in 2011 and founded his own media company, Blaze Media.
Beck addressed Carlson’s departure from Fox on Monday. He said the move will ‘kill Fox’ and added: ‘We would love to have you here, you won’t miss a beat, and together the two of us will tear it up.’
Glenn Beck’s Fox News show drew millions of viewers before he left in 2011 and launched his own media company. He said Carlson’s departure will ‘kill’ Fox News
Megyn Kelly is another Fox alumnus who quit the station. Shehad a stint at NBC News before launching her own podcast, The Megyn Kelly Show, which is now broadcast on Sirius XM
The possibility that Carlson could launch a political career is also not out of the question.
He’s been floated as a possible Republican presidential candidate on several occasions in recent years. A Politico article in 2020 said Carlson was seen as a promising option by strategists, commentators and former Trump campaign officials.
Other articles have portrayed him as the party’s ideological successor to Donald Trump – and Carlson would likely gain the backing of supporters of the former president.
The timing and unexpected nature of his Fox departure makes a 2024 bid unlikely, particularly given that Trump has announced he will run for office again.
But Carlson might view this as an opportune moment to lay the foundations for a political career and future candidacy.