Two longtime mainstays in cable news are leaving this week. Tucker Carlson’s departure was announced by Fox News, and Don Lemon announced Monday he was fired from CNN.
Carlson’s last episode was Friday, the news corporation announced, saying, “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.”
Beginning Monday evening, a rotating group of Fox News personalities will host “Fox News Tonight,” which will take the place of his top-rated program.
Over at CNN, Don Lemon announced in a scathing tweet that he had been fired, without warning. The embattled liberal host has come under fire from those inside and outside the nation’s oldest cable news network for comments about women and treatment of his female co-hosts.
“I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN,” the embattled CNN This Morning host tweeted. “It is clear that there are some larger issues at play,” he alleged.
CNN immediately responded to viewers that Lemon was not telling the truth.
“Don Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate. He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter,” the network said.
Both announcements come after a busy week and tumultuous two years for cable news and newspapers. Both CNN and the Washington Post settled lawsuits over false reporting about a high school student caught up in a Washington DC protest. Fox News settled last week with Dominion Voting over its opinion anchors (not news anchors) reporting on alleged misconduct during the 2020 presidential election vote count.
For his part, Carlson had “the highest-rated program in cable news in the younger 25-54 demo, averaging 3.2 million viewers, 443,000 in the demo and 299,000 in the 18-49 category” in the first quarter of 2023, according to Fox.
It was also the network’s second-most popular program in 2022, behind The Five, and a program that regularly drew the ire of liberals, having sustained several boycott attempts over the years.
Fox lost another high profile personality last week when Dan Bongino revealed that he would cease producing his television and radio shows in conjunction with Fox News and Fox Nation after negotiations of salary broke down. Bongino told his fans he still loved Fox News and there was no “bad blood” between them.
Carlson has yet to respond publicly.
CNN’s firing of Lemon comes as the network reshuffles shows after the firing of the network’s president last year. Sources say new CEO Chris Licht, hoped to move the cable news back to the center after six years of vehemently anti-Republican reporting that often spilled over into actual news broadcasts. That’s in contrast to Fox News, say analysts, whose Conservative leaning views were found mostly on opinion shows like Carlson and Bongino, while news programs like Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday earned kudos for balanced reporting.
Both Carlson and Lemon have pushed boundaries with their audiences, though Lemon is credited with going too far leading to abysmal ratings slides for CNN.
Lemon, though, ran afoul of the network not so much for his opinions, but for his sexist views of women. Earlier this year he was accused of ageism and sexism when he suggested Nikki Haley was past her “prime” after she announced her run for the presidency.
He was nowhere to be seen after the comments but sources said CNN staff were outraged and would not be upset if he didn’t return.
Then, Variety published an exposé, “Don Lemon’s Misogyny at CNN, Exposed: Malicious Texts, Mocking Female Co-Workers and ‘Diva-Like Behavior.'”
The leftist magazine accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior and misconduct throughout his 16 years years at CNN.
But Lemon’s problems didn’t stop at sexism. He regularly used race to bait guests, including guests of color. Last week he got into a charged discussion with presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy saying Ramaswamy was “whatever ethnicity you are ‘splaining to me about what it’s like to be black in America.”
“I’ll tell you what I am: I’m an Indian American. I’m proud of it. But I think we should have this debate. Black, white — doesn’t matter. On the content of the ideas,” the candidate responded.
The changes at CNN come as media pundits point out that constantly attacking Republicans, conservatives or Christians is weighing on viewers who are exhausted by entertainment being uber-political and always against conservatives.
Recent Neilson Ratings find that since late night comedy decided to focus on Donald Trump and Republicans over the last six years, the programs have lost 41% of their viewers.
With tanking ratings, many late night hosts are just quitting. James Corden is the latest to announce his retirement, following Trevor Noah’s departure.
–Metro Voice and wire services