Fox News Media and top-rated host Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways, the media company said, less than a week after it and its parent Fox Corp settled a defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million.
Carlson was expected to be a key witness in the trial centring around Fox’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election had been manipulated in favour of Democrat Joe Biden.
Carlson’s prime-time show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, had been the highest-rated cable news programme in the key 25-to-54 age demographic, regularly attracting more than three million nightly viewers. Fox is the most-watched US cable news network.
“We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor,” Fox News said in a statement. Carlson’s next move was unclear.
Fox shares dropped sharply on the news, and were last off 3.8 per cent in active trading.
The settlement with Denver-based Dominion averted a lengthy trial that would have put Fox’s content and operations front and centre.
The company still faces additional legal battles, including a $2.7 billion suit from voting technology company SmartMatic as well as a lawsuit from a former producer who said Fox coerced her testimony in the Dominion case.
Dominion had alleged that statements made on Carlson’s show after the 2020 election were defamatory.