Declaring, “We’re back,” former Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Tuesday he would start a new show on Twitter, a sign that negotiations to reach an amicable parting ways with the network, where he is still under contract , it had broken.
Carlson did not offer details about when his new show would start or what kind of content it would have. The many unanswered questions highlighted the uncertainties surrounding his future, a career in which he would be deprived of a primetime platform on Fox News.
Among the possibilities: Fox could ultimately block any attempt by the host to return to a prominent role in conservative media.
A representative for Fox Corporation, which has been involved in negotiations over the details of Carlson’s departure from the network since he went off the air last month, had no comment.
On Monday, Carlson spoke with Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch to discuss a possible departure from the company, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting.
Mr. Carlson’s comments on Tuesday, posted on Twitter, a platform run by Elon Musk, a provocateur in a similar mold to the combative, maverick host, consisted of a three-minute monologue delivered directly to the camera. The video could violate the terms of his contract with Fox, which prevent Carlson from hosting a show on an alternative network.
One way Fox could try to stop Carlson from posting new videos would be to seek an injunction, said Andy Lee, an entertainment attorney at Foley & Lardner. But the network would have to persuade a judge that Mr. Carlson was causing irreparable damage to the network, for example, by damaging his reputation or revealing confidential information. He would also have to show the probability that he would win at trial, another hurdle.
Mr. Carlson would likely resist all of those arguments and would also argue that his Twitter videos were protected by the First Amendment.
“The burden is high for this remedy, but people get court orders all the time,” Mr. Lee said.
Bryan Freedman, Tucker Carlson’s attorney, did not respond to requests for comment.
In response to Mr. Carlson’s tweet, Mr. Musk aware on Twitter that “we have not signed an agreement of any kind”. He added that Mr. Carlson would be “subject to the same rules and rewards as all content creators.”
Carlson began Tuesday’s monologue with a critique of the news industry, saying it was incapable of telling the truth. And he seemed to issue a veiled threat to reveal what he had learned about the inner workings of the various media companies in which he held various positions over the course of three decades.
“After more than 30 years in the middle of this, we can tell you stories,” said Carlson, who eschewed his usual suit jacket and tie for a plaid button-down shirt. She recorded the video from her studio in Maine, according to a person with knowledge of how it was made.
In the video, Mr. Carlson offered little explanation of what his new show might entail, saying only that it would resemble “the show we’ve been doing for the last six and a half years,” a reference to his Show. 8 pm Fox News, “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” Mr. Carlson said that “freedom of expression” would be a main theme of the show, calling it “the main right that you have”.
“See you soon,” Mr. Carlson said. He also launched a website, TuckerCarlson.com, promising subscribers “instant updates” on where and when they could see the former Fox News host.
When Musk bought Twitter last October for $44 billion, he justified the high price by saying he was protecting “free speech” and would reverse many of the content moderation decisions made by a company he believed had become too left-wing. . propensity. He welcomed many previously suspended or banned users, including known white nationalist accounts. Investigators reported more hate speech on the site, and many advertisers fled.
Last month, Musk attended Carlson’s Fox show to discuss his ownership of Twitter. He described the financial pressures on the company, noting that he had just halved the company’s internal valuation to about $20 billion.
“But some things are priceless,” Musk said. “So whether you lose money or not, that’s a secondary issue compared to ensuring the strength of democracy, and free speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy.”
That interview would be one of Mr. Carlson’s last on Fox. The following week, shortly after Fox settled a libel case involving Mr. Carlson in part for $787.5 million, the network canceled his popular show .
Mr. Carlson’s personal text messages released as part of the court case, brought by Dominion Voting Systems, had become a major source of embarrassment for Fox News. It was revealed that Mr. Carlson had dismissed former President Donald J. Trump as “a demonic force” and a “destroyer”.
Later, in a text message that Fox withheld from the public record of the case, Carlson described how he had recently seen video of a group of men beating up an “Antifa kid.” “This is not how white men fight,” she wrote to one of her producers, in an expression of racial superiority. She went on to say that she wanted that group to kill the person, only to realize that he had gone too far.
It is unclear whether Mr. Carlson’s show would be live or recorded, and through which format it would be broadcast on Twitter.
It’s also unclear if Musk would pay for the show’s production or compensate Carlson.
One option for Musk could be to put Carlson’s show behind a Twitter paywall. Mr Musk has pushed creators to use Twitter to exclusively distribute their content and the company recently unveiled subscription features that Mr Musk hopes could contribute significant revenue that could move the platform away from its reliance on advertising.
In his Tuesday tweet, Musk said that the “rewards” available to Carlson “mean subscriptions and ad revenue share (coming soon), which is a function of how many people subscribe and the ad views associated with the content.”
Mr. Carlson can not only entice members of his older demographic to sign up for Twitter, but also get them to sign up for exclusive content.
But giving Carlson a prominent platform could risk further alienating many national brands, leading to fewer ad dollars for Twitter.