[Story updated to include CNN’s reaction to Don Lemon’s statement.]
In an extraordinary development, Tucker Carlson is out at Fox News. The prime-time presenter’s exit comes just days after the network settled a lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems. Had the case gone to a full jury trial, Carlson was expected to take the stand.
In a short statement, Fox News said:
FOX News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways. We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor. Mr. Carlson’s last program was Friday April 21st. Fox News Tonight will air live at 8 PM/ET starting this evening as an interim show helmed by rotating FOX News personalities until a new host is named.
Carlson was the network’s most popular personality, drawing in huge viewing figures. His show had gone ahead as usual on Friday. The host also gained huge political influence, despite it emerging during the Dominion case he did not have much time for former President Donald Trump.
At the time of writing, Carlson has not made a public statement.
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Don Lemon Leaves CNN
Carlson is not the only high-profile exit from US cable news today. CNN announced that Don Lemon, one of the three hosts of the network’s breakfast show, is also out. In its statement, CNN said:
CNN and Don have parted ways. Don will forever be a part of the CNN family, and we thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years. We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors.
Lemon, who was on air as usual this morning, tweeted:
However, CNN is disputing Lemon’s account of things:
As the New York Times noted, Lemon had come under increasing pressure for comments deemed to be sexist. He had to apologise to colleagues after describing presidential candidate Nikki Haley as “not in her prime.”
One of these exits in a day would be huge news. For Tucker Carlson to exit Fox News and Dom Lemon to leave CNN on the same day is quite stunning. The decision of who to bring in to fill two of the biggest slots in US cable news will be very significant indeed.