Tucker Carlson and Fox News agree to “part ways”

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Tucker Carlson and Fox News agree to “part ways”

One of the highest rated US TV hosts, Tucker Carlson, is leaving Fox News, the US media giant has announced.

In a statement, Fox News said that the network and Mr Carlson have agreed to “part ways”.

His last TV programme was Friday 21 April, the statement added. His primetime slot will now be hosted by a series of interim hosts until a permanent replacement is found.

The brief two paragraph statement gave no reason for the decision.

Mr Carlson was not just a popular evening news programme presenter, but also a historically influential one. His shows frequently set the agenda for conservatives and, by extension, the Republican Party.

The announcement comes just days after Fox News settled a defamation lawsuit from the voting machine company Dominion over its coverage of the 2020 presidential election.

News of Mr Carlson’s departure was also announced on air by Fox News with a tribute that thanked him “for his service to the network”.

In the lawsuit, Dominion argued that its business was harmed by Fox spreading false claims its machines were rigged against now-former president Donald Trump.

The case prompted disclosures of text messages that showed Mr Carlson’s private views contrasted with his on-air output.

His show, which aired in the coveted 20:00 to 21:00 EST slot, was cited repeatedly in court documents by Dominion’s attorneys in their claim some of its output was defamatory.

Additionally, Fox News is also facing a lawsuit filed in March by former booker Abby Grossberg in which she accused him of “vile sexist stereotypes”. Fox News has counter-sued and said it would “vigorously defend these claims”.

Mr Carlson’s programme made up four of the top ten rated programmes on US cable TV, according to Nielson data for the week 27 March to 2 April.

He was Fox News’ top rated host, with more than three million viewers tuning in on an average night.

Mr Carlson interviewed Mr Trump two weeks ago, even after disclosures in the Dominion case showed Mr Carlson had privately said he “hated” the ex-president.

The interview netted nearly seven million viewers, a figure rarely seen in the world of US cable news.

He also interviewed Twitter CEO Elon Musk during what would become his final week on Fox News.

His departure appears to have been sudden and came without the usual farewell that might be expected from a long-serving presenter.