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The Tucker Rule

Most media executives see an obvious ceiling to Tucker’s ambitions, with Beck, Megyn, and O’Reilly providing ample evidence of the limits to going it alone in the subscription-based creator economy.
Most media executives see an obvious ceiling to Tucker’s ambitions, with Beck, Megyn, and O’Reilly providing ample evidence of the limits to going it alone in the subscription-based creator economy. Photo: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images
Dylan Byers
December 13, 2023

This week, Tucker Carlson launched the long-anticipated Tucker Carlson Network, a streaming service that will allow him to monetize, at $9 a month, the nativist, right-wing, conspiratorial, antiestablishmentarianism-aroused news consumers for whom he remains a cultural leader, even after his defenestration from Fox News. The service will ostensibly feature multiple shows, films, an interview series, and a podcast. It will become the latest in a string of digital media startups founded by Fox alumni such as Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Megyn Kelly after leaving the Murdoch kingdom.

The announcement of Tucker’s venture has been expected since June, when I broke the news that he was raising capital to launch a new media company. Even then, it was clear that his short-form video deal with Elon Musk’s Twitter/X was merely a relevance grab and top-of-funnel play in the service of bigger multichannel ambitions. “[X] doesn’t lend itself to putting a big library right in front of you on one page,” Tucker told Megyn this week on her SiriusXM show. Nor does it provide a reliable monetization strategy—a challenge exacerbated by X’s declining ad revenue, now down by at least 50 percent since Musk took over, per Bloomberg.