Monday morning, Fox News stunned the media world with an announcement that the network and its most popular host "have agreed to part ways," according to Mediaite.
“It was a firing,” the source added, and Carlson “was informed today” — explaining why he had closed Friday’s show saying he’d be back Monday.
The shocking news came a week after the network's $787.5 million defamation settlement with Dominion Voting Systems — with a potentially even more expensive lawsuit from Smartmatic still pending.
That plus Carlson's own texts and emails featured prominently in the pre-trial discovery showing Fox News executives and on-air personalities privately admitting the same 2020 election conspiracies they publicly promoted were nonsense.
Carlson's final program, which broadcast on Friday night, did not contain any indication that it would be his last, as the host told his audience, "We'll be back on Monday."
A source who spoke on the condition of anonymity with Mediaite disclosed that Carlson was in fact stunned by the news. "He was totally surprised," said the source. "He had no idea."
The Fox News newsroom is "in a state of shock," a source said, confirming a report by Mediaite's Aidan McLaughlin that multiple sources within the network.
According to the sources cited by Mediaite, the news "hit like a bomb inside the network, shocking even staffers close to the ex-prime time host who had no idea this was coming" and found out when the news broke online, rather than through internal communication.
The source did not know the precise reason for Carlson's dismissal but speculated that it was "part of general housecleaning" after the Dominion settlement as well as shareholder grumbling and litigation concerns, or something related to former Fox producer Abby Grossman's complaint that was specifically connected to Carlson.
As former President Donald Trump increasingly appears to be the likely 2024 Republican presidential nominee, the source speculated that Fox News might be concerned about ongoing liability risks as the election season warms up, and additional on-air personalities may soon be terminated.
Additional Fox News sources independently verified to Mediaite that Carlson was terminated from the network, but they were unable to provide a reason.
"FOX News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways. We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor," Fox News Media said in an April 24 press release.
"Mr. Carlson’s last program was Friday April 21st. Fox News Tonight will air live at 8 PM/ET starting this evening as an interim show helmed by rotating FOX News personalities until a new host is named.
"Currently the number one network in all of cable, FNC has also been the most watched television news channel for more than 21 consecutive years, while FBN ranks among the top business channels on cable. Owned by Fox Corporation, FOX News Media reaches nearly 200 million people each month."