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The Fox News drama is unfolding like a cheesy soap opera where the beloved lead character who held the title for the most popular daytime TV star is shockingly killed off, leaving viewers questioning, “Why are we even watching this cruddy show?” As Fox News struggles to regain control and stop the hemorrhaging, a fresh problem seems to have emerged. It appears that a handful of current Fox News personalities are watching Tucker’s new and exciting plans unfold and are ready to abandon ship and join him.
Is there an internal sense that Fox News is the new Titanic and these folks want to grab a lifeboat before it’s too late?
Carlson’s Twitter move could have additional reverberations with talent at the network. A handful of Fox anchors have reached out to Carlson directly or had their surrogates contact him to say they are eager to join whatever venture he starts on Twitter when their contracts are up, according to sources.
However, the Twitter deal is far form final. Tucker is still battling Fox News for freedom to break out and start his own media enterprise and really give Fox News a run for their money.
After learning that he was being sidelined on April 24, Carlson hired high-powered Hollywood attorney Bryan Freedman for the contract dispute. Freedman — whose other media clients include Don Lemon (ousted by CNN on the same day as the Carlson-Fox split), Megyn Kelly, Chris Cuomo and Tiffany Cross — is well known as the lawyer you retain when you are ready to go to war with a media giant. As such, Freedman sent a letter to Fox on May 9 saying Fox employees, including “Rupert Murdoch himself,” broke promises to Carlson “intentionally and with reckless disregard for the truth.” (A source says Fox has not yet responded to the letter.)
The attorney, who forced NBC News to pay Kelly $69 million after she was fired in 2019, has made it clear to Fox that its cabler breached Carlson’s contract by pulling him from his top-rated 8 p.m. slot, and now he is free to do what he wants. (Carlson’s contract expires in January 2025.) Freedman declined to comment for this story but recently told Axios: “The idea that anyone is going to silence Tucker and prevent him from speaking to his audience is beyond preposterous.”
In addition, Elon Musk made it clear that no contract has been signed as of yet between Tucker and Twitter. Obviously, Tucker needs to hash out the Fox situation first.
Twitter owner Elon Musk stressed that Carlson does not have a deal with the social media giant. “[W]e have not signed a deal of any kind whatsoever,” he recently tweeted. “Tucker is subject to the same rules & rewards of all content creators.” As for how Carlson could monetize his mega following on Twitter, Musk also recently detailed how any such arrangement would work, noting that the company will take nothing the first year and then 10% on content subscriptions thereafter. Ever since Carlson interviewed Musk in mid-April, the two have been in constant communication, says a source familiar with their dealings. (Perhaps surprisingly, Carlson has been texting with recently ousted CNN anchor Lemon and also has been in talks with Kelly to appear as a guest on her titular SiriusXM show.) As for Carlson’s relationship with his former bosses, that source says he still has some affection for Lachlan Murdoch and doesn’t blame the scion for being sidelined.
It’ll be fascinating to see which folks at Fox might want to join Tucker and make a move. Honestly, it’s a savvy decision. Tucker represents the future, while Fox News is stuck in the past.