In a video posted to Twitter, ex-Fox News host Tucker Carlson announced the launch of his brand new web show that will be exclusively posted to Twitter. Carlson stated his reasons for utilizing Twitter are that he believes Twitter, under Elon Musk, is more of a bastion for free speech than any mainstream network television channel. One trouble remains: Carlson’s non-compete clause in his contract with Fox is still in effect, meaning Carlson will have to fight the network to fully release him in order to skirt legal troubles that would stem from him starting his new show.
By Jeremy Barr, Faiz Siddiqui, Sarah Ellison; May 9, 2023
Tucker Carlson, who was fired by Fox News late last month, said in a video posted Tuesday afternoon on Twitter that he will soon be launching “a new version” of his television show on the social media platform.
“We will be bringing some other things, too, which we’ll tell you about,” he said. “But for now, we’re just grateful to be here.”
Carlson has been itching for a return to the public scene since his ouster from Fox, according to people in his circle.
It was not immediately clear how Carlson decided to bring his content to Twitter. But a video Carlson posted to the platform in late April, days after his firing, amassed more than 80 million views, according to Twitter’s public view counts, which impressed Carlson and people in his orbit.
Twitter owner Elon Musk tweeted late Tuesday that there was no deal with Carlson, and he urged people from both sides of the political spectrum to join the site.
“On this platform, unlike the one-way street of broadcast, people are able to interact, critique and refute whatever he or anyone may say,” he said.
Carlson is ready to walk away from money that Fox still contractually owes him, according to a person with knowledge of his thinking, to escape a noncompete clause that would keep him off the air through the end of 2024 — and rupture his connection with his audience, he believes. The same person said the contract does not count digital or streaming projects as off-limits.
But no exit deal has been finalized with the network, and Carlson seems ready to escalate his conflict with Fox. Carlson lawyer Bryan Freedman sent a letter to Fox executives on Tuesday accusing the company of fraud and breach of contract, and arguing that the noncompete is null and void, The Washington Post has confirmed. The letter was first reported by Axios.
Carlson offered no details about how this show would operate or when it would appear. Twitter and Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Musk has tried aggressively to monetize the site, leaning heavily into a subscription model and charging $8 for the signature blue checks that used to denote verification.
As part of those efforts, Musk has also sought to persuade journalists to post exclusively to Twitter. Journalist Matt Taibbi, who published portions of the Musk-backed “Twitter Files” series outlining Twitter’s interactions with the U.S. government over the years, announced last month he would remain at Substack — after Musk restricted posts from the newsletter platform following Substack’s launch of a Twitter clone.
With a vision of turning Twitter into a home for native content from writers and public figures, Musk has introduced a subscription button allowing users to pay creators a fee for exclusive content. But while Musk’s own Twitter feed offers a subscription button — users can pay $4 a month to receive bonus content from him — Carlson’s profile did not include an option to subscribe as of Tuesday.
In Musk’s Tuesday tweet, which was in reply to Tucker’s tweeted video, Musk said anything misleading will be labeled with community notes, Twitter’s user-supported feature for adding critical context or correcting factual errors.
“I also want to be clear that we have not signed a deal of any kind whatsoever,” he said. “Tucker is subject to the same rules & rewards of all content creators,” adding that rewards are subscriptions and advertising-revenue share.
“I hope that many others, particularly from the left, also choose to be content creators on this platform,” he added.
Carlson — who, shortly before his firing, interviewed Musk on his show and had a briefing from Twitter tech staff about the site’s moneymaking opportunities — did not comment. But the three-minute video posted Tuesday served as something of an advertisement for Musk’s Twitter.
“Amazingly, as of tonight, there aren’t many platforms left that allow free speech,” Carlson says in the video. “The last big one remaining in the world — the only one — is Twitter. … Twitter is not a partisan site. Everybody’s allowed here. And we think that’s a good thing.”
Representatives for Fox News and parent company Fox Corp. did not provide comment on whether Carlson’s plan to relaunch the show suggests he has agreed to an exit agreement from the network.
Carlson’s contract with Fox runs through the end of 2024, though a person close to Carlson told The Post last week that he might accept less money than he is owed to be able to get back into the media game before then.
A new version of Carlson’s personal website trumpets his return — “TUCKER IS BACK” — and includes an option for fans to sign up for updates about him. On the homepage, Carlson is pictured wearing a checkered, button-down shirt and holding a gun.