By Jack Phillips
Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson released a video on Tuesday afternoon saying he will bring a new show to Twitter.
“Starting soon, we’ll be bringing a new version of the show to Twitter,” Carlson said in his first remarks about his future post-Fox plans. It’s “the show we’ve been doing for the last six and a half years” but will come to Twitter, he added.
“We bring some other things, too, which we’ll tell you about. But for now, we’re just grateful to be here. Free speech is the main right that you have. Without it, you have no others,” Carlson said.
Carlson also praised Twitter, which was bought by Tesla owner Elon Musk late last year, for being one of the few “platforms left that allow free speech.” He noted that in the U.S. media business, there are rules governing “what you can’t say,” which he said undermines the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
“Speech is the fundamental pre-requisite for democracy. That’s why it was enshrined in the first of our Constitutional amendments,” he added. “Amazingly, as of tonight, there are not that many platforms left that allow free speech. The last big one remaining … is Twitter, where we are now.”
Because of “limits” that are imposed on media figures and journalists, if one bumps “against those limits often enough you will be fired for it,” saying, “That’s not a guess, that’s guaranteed.”
In the video, he did not elaborate on how long the show will be, when it will start, or if he came to an agreement with Musk. There were unconfirmed reports this week claiming that Carlson spoke with Musk about a possible program on the social media network.
Carlson’s video has since racked up millions of thousands of views and impressions a few minutes after it was posted. A previous video that Carlson released on his account days after he left Fox generated nearly 100 million impressions.
“On this platform, unlike the one-way street of broadcast, people are able to interact, critique and refute whatever is said. And, of course, anything misleading will get @CommunityNotes . I also want to be clear that we have not signed a deal of any kind whatsoever,” Musk wrote.
“Tucker is subject to the same rules & rewards of all content creators. Rewards means subscriptions and advertising revenue share (coming soon), which is a function of how many people subscribe and the advertising views associated with the content. I hope that many others, particularly from the left, also choose to be content creators on this platform.”
The former Fox News host did not say anything about his former network, coming just over two weeks after the company released a statement saying it parted ways with him. Few details about his departure have been given so far, although there has been rampant speculation on why he left.
Bolstered by former Fox host Megyn Kelly’s allegations, there have been rumors that Carlson is looking to take action against his former network amid claims that he is still under contract until early 2025. A lawyer for Carlson, Bryan Freedman, responded to those reports by saying that the “idea that anyone is going to silence Tucker and prevent him from speaking to his audience is beyond preposterous.”
“I don’t know what drove Fox News to make this decision. And it was clearly Fox News’ decision because they’re not letting him say goodbye,” Kelly said last month on her podcast. “That’s my supposition. That’s not inside knowledge … talk about misjudging your audience yet again.”
A potential public battle between Carlson and Fox News would shake up the broadcasting world even more, coming just two years after the network’s viewership temporarily dropped after it called the 2020 presidential election contest in Arizona for Joe Biden over former President Donald Trump. The former president, in the meantime, has repeatedly criticized Fox and claimed it is veering to the left.
If Carlson publicly criticizes Fox, it could pare down the channel’s viewership even further. Since his departure, Fox News’ primetime ratings have seen a sharp decline across the board, sparking questions from analysts about whether it will be able to recover.
The video comes just hours after Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch told investors on a conference call that the network has no plans to change its programming strategy, responding to a question about Carlson.
Fox News has “obviously a successful strategy,” he said, suggesting that Carlson’s exit was merely a tweaking of its strategy and wouldn’t represent a major change of plans. “As always, we are adjusting our programming and lineup and that is what we continue to do,” Murdoch said, according to multiple news reports.
Since leaving, Fox News’ primetime ratings have dropped significantly. A replacement show, “Fox News Tonight,” too, has seen a sharp decline in ratings.
Viewership figures for the night of May 5 show that “Fox News Tonight” attracted only 90,000 people in the 25–54 demographic coveted by advertisers, while MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” attracted 145,000. In comparison, Carlson’s final show on April 21 obtained more than 270,000 in the 25–54 demographic and drew about 2.6 million overall viewers.
Across all of March 2023, Carlson averaged well more than 3 million viewers per show, in part buoyed by his coverage of new footage of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach.
Morning host Brian Kilmeade was the first to take over Carlson’s timeslot on “Fox News Tonight,” followed by Lawrence Jones. Kayleigh McEnany, a former Trump White House press secretary, is hosting the show this week.
A Fox News spokesperson told news outlets Tuesday that the cable news network “continues as the highest-rated cable news network in primetime and total day. The network also continues to be the most-watched cable news channel at 8 p.m. ET with Fox News Tonight.”