(Robert Jonathan, Headline USA) A conservative rival to Fox News has reportedly offered Tucker Carlson the opportunity to become what amounts to the channel’s program director.
TMZ previously claimed that struggling “nonpartisan” NewsNation is very serious about signing Carlson, FNC’s former top-rated anchor who delivered a must-see-TV opening monologue on each episode of his show.
The Hollywood gossip site now claims that Newsmax is “putting on a full-court press to land him.”
“Sources with direct knowledge tell TMZ…the news channel is doing everything it can to sweeten the deal for Tucker to come on board — including floating the idea of letting him program the whole channel, not just his own show.”
The outlet further asserted “That would be a pretty enticing deal point…in addition to having his own primetime show, Tucker would have a say over what shows lead into and out of his show, which can be key in achieving bigger TV ratings.”
Much speculation has emerged about Carlson’s contract status or current obligations therein including that Fox is supposedly still paying him to go fly-fishing to prevent him from getting a conventional media gig or from launching his own news-and-commentary platform, at least in the near term.
With that in mind, TMZ added that “While our sources stress Newsmax hasn’t formally offered Tucker a job — he can’t have formal discussions due to his current Fox News contract — we’re told the network execs have made it clear to people around him, they would basically give him a big say in rebranding their channel.”
A TMZ reporter likened the situation to when NFL teams tried to hire Bill Parcells as their head coach. “You could be the ‘coach and the general manager.’ They’re telling [Carlson] he could come in and actually plan out the programming for the network, and he would be sort of the star,” but also select the other primetime hosts and content.
“Really give him a lot of control over the direction of the network.”
The now-retired Parcells famously once quipped that “If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries,” in the context of ownership allowing the coach to also pick the pro football players that he is expected to teach and mentor.
Fox lost significant market share and a massive amount of stock value as a result of the departure of the populist pundit from the Tucker Carlson Tonight program.
FNC alienated many viewers over its rush to call Arizona for Joe Biden in Election 2020. Those viewers eventually came back, but this time around, the damage could be permanent, given Carlson’s devoted following.
In the meantime, Newsmax received a ratings spike, particularly at the 8 p.m. Eastern time (the Carlson time slot) anchored by former Fox News host Eric Bolling.
For example, Bolling had 510,000 viewers last Wednesday night, compared to 168,000 for the prior Wednesday, according to the Nielsen ratings service. The night before, Bolling had 562,000 viewers, up from 122,000 the same day a week earlier. He achieved 531,000 viewers last Monday, hours after Fox let Carlson go.
According to the New York Times, however, “Over all, Newsmax remains a ratings minnow.”
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy told the Times that “We would definitely be open to having a conversation with [Carlson]. He’s one of the most influential and significant voices in conservative media, and he shouldn’t be ignored.”
Ruddy noted that Carlson could go the independent podcast route.
Longtime Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr, whose talk show is simulcast on Newsmax, maintained that “Tucker Carlson will survive, stronger than ever, for sure. (I hope the TMZ speculation about taking over Newsmax is true, although I doubt it.)”
OANN and Blaze TV have already made overtures to Carlson, who is the most influential pundit in the cable news space, even if temporarily silenced, especially given that Carlson’s brief but inspirational video message garnered nearly 80 million views on Twitter.
“Our sources acknowledge it’s too early to know for sure where Tucker will pop up next, and it might not even be at a TV network…but we’re told whatever he does, it’s going to be big, disruptive, and will create a seismic shift in the conservative media landscape,” TMZ concluded.
Controversy also swirls around the purported reason or reasons why Fox and Tucker parted ways. In the end, contractual non-disclosure clauses and other similar fine-print limitations may or may not preclude the disclosure of what actually went down.
Characterizing Fox News as “controlled opposition,” Lew Rockwell, the founder and chairman of the Mises institute, declared that “Tucker was axed by the regime’s henchmen, who work together to silence dissent, pummel the population with endless propaganda, and gaslight their victims with lies that represent the precise inverse of the truth.”