On Monday morning, while Fox News C.E.O. Suzanne Scott was announcing the network’s new evening lineup—confirming Jesse Watters’ long-anticipated ascension to 8 p.m., and gently nudging Laura Ingraham out of the official primetime window—she was also discreetly showing Tucker Carlson’s old production team the door. Two of Carlson’s top producers had already decamped weeks earlier after one of them had memorably gone rogue and labeled Biden a “wannabe dictator” on the chyron—a ridiculous stunt but also perhaps the latest example that the network’s untrammeled id really does defy Onion-level parody.
The eight remaining members of the Tucker Carlson Tonight team were told Monday that they would need to leave by mid-July, with the option to reapply for new positions. Such an outcome doesn’t seem terribly likely, of course. I am told that the vast majority of these employees will instead reunite with Tucker, who is currently posting Twitter videos from his barn in Maine, with bigger media ambitions afoot.
Fox’s effort to make a clean break from Tucker is understandable, especially given their ongoing legal battle with their former prime-time star. Earlier this month, Fox accused Tucker of breaching his contract by launching the Twitter show. Tucker’s lawyer, Bryan Freedman, returned fire by accusing the company of trying to deny the pundit his freedom of speech—an obvious misappropriation of the First Amendment, but whatever. (Freedman is a willing and occasionally excellent practitioner of the media arts.)