Popular Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who was recently fired, has shown interest in presiding over debates for Republican candidates and is said to have explored the idea with former President Donald Trump.
The former president, who is now leading in the Republican primary, has suggested boycotting the forums hosted by Fox News since the “hostile” network did not ask his opinion on the matter. The Washington Post claims that Carlson has talked with Trump about replacing Fox News as the moderator of the event in order to “take a jab at his previous employer”
“According to two individuals with knowledge of the discussions, Carlson and his staff have explored the potential of moderating a contender forum outside of the conventional guidelines governing the Republican primary debating system. According to these sources, the structure — as well as Carlson’s eligibility to take on such a job, because of the noncompete clauses in his Fox deal — is yet unknown. According to those acquainted with Carlson’s views, he has voiced support for the notion. According to a source familiar with the conversation, at least one prominent contender, Trump, has shown interest in speaking with Carlson.”
“The former Fox presenter is thought to be interested in a debate because it might potentially weaken the GOP National Committee’s control over the process and question the conventional role of the major cable networks. One source with knowledge of the conversations said that he could go directly to the candidates, live stream it, invite networks to attend but keep control throughout the process.”
Carlson’s desire to host the candidate forums coincides with rumors that he is fielding calls from networks interested in hiring him. Trinity Broadcast Network, One America News Network, and Newsmax are among these networks. “The Post noted that Newsmax, a conservative media outlet, has made a stronger pitch,” adding that this week saw a rise in prime-time ratings for Newsmax at the exact time as Fox began to lose viewers from Carlson’s former time slot.
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy told the WSJ that he could be open to “rebranding Newsmax under Tucker’s name,” which aroused Carlson’s curiosity.
A dispute over Carlson’s contract status with Fox News, however, may prevent one of the most well-known TV personalities in history from making any quick career moves.
According to a source close to Fox News top executives, “the strategy is still to pay out Carlson’s contract and keep him off the air until the 2024 elections. They knew they’d get hammered for this, but everybody — and I emphasize everybody — is rattled. They weren’t anticipating such a negative reaction. I hate to say it, but Rupert Murdoch has clearly lost a step or two.”