Monday, April 24, 2023 will go down as one of the more bizarre and consequential days in modern cable news as, nearly an hour after Fox News shockingly announced it had “agreed to part ways” with Tucker Carlson, CNN This Morning co-host Don Lemon claimed he was informed through his agent that he had “been terminated by CNN.”
Carlson’s ouster gripped social media and conservative circles Monday, leaving many baffled by Fox’s decision to oust the most-watched cable news host, who had not only a weeknight primetime show Tucker Carlson Tonight (which averaged 3.3 million viewers in 2022), but a daytime show on its streaming network Fox Nation called Tucker Carlson Today, and an investigative series Tucker Carlson Originals.
A Fox News spokeswoman broke the news in a statement: “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.”
The statement concluded by revealing Carlson would not be given a farewell show and instead the timeslot will be filled by a placeholder show Fox News Tonight and helmed on a “rotating” basis by various “FOX News personalities until a new host is named.”
The Faulkner Focus host Harris Faulkner made the on-air announcement:
Fox News has @HarrisFaulkner make the announcement to viewers at 11:45 a.m. Eastern on The @FaulknerFocus (so 18 minutes after the statement went life) that #Tucker was OUT at the network.— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) April 24, 2023
She read the statement in full, adding at the onset "News from within our Fox family." pic.twitter.com/iJMpSSjXkE
As for Lemon, he explained in an angry statement he “was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN” and expressed disgust CNN management lacked “the decency to tell me directly” given his “17 years at CNN.”
He continued by saying he was never “ever given any indication that I would be able to continue to do the work I have loved at the work. It is clear that there are some larger issues at play.
“With that said, I want to thank my colleagues and the many teams I have worked with for an incredible run. They are the most talented journalists in the business, and I wish them the best,” he concluded.
CNN would soon follow in a statement, eight minutes later: “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.” They would later put out a second statement, rebutting Lemon’s claims about how he was ushered out.
Nearly a half hour later, CNN’s Inside Politics informed viewers:
CNN's John King and Oliver Darcy informs CNN viewers at 12:38 p.m. Eastern that Don Lemon had been fired by CNN (and 24 minutes after Lemon broke the story himself on Twitter).— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) April 24, 2023
Darcy called it "shocking" and King says Lemon's "always been good to me" and "wish[es] Don the best" pic.twitter.com/V1dYdPkru4
Going back to Carlson, it’ll remain an open question as to why Carlson was unceremoniously axed (so long as no further reporting is provided). Last week, Fox News agreed to a $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems and avoid trial over its “false” coverage about the aftermath of the 2020 election.
Carlson’s final segment will go down without much fanfare as he ended Friday’s show by bringing in Pennsylvania pizza deliveryman Tyler Morrell to eat pizzas from the shop, Coco's Pizza in Delaware County, and discuss Morrell’s heroic action to trip up an alleged car thief.
Here were the final moments of @TuckerCarlson Tonight - #Tucker's final guest was the pizza deliveryman who tripped up a suspected car thief. The driver - Tyler Morrell - brought a bunch of pizzas, so the two sat and ate them while mocking the thief.— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) April 24, 2023
"We'll be back on Monday!" pic.twitter.com/CSQlJnjqgf
Carlson wrapped by teasing the latest episode of Tucker Carlson Originals and telling viewers he’d be back on Monday: “That’s it for us, for the week....And we’ll be back on Monday. In the meantime, have the best weekend with the ones that you love and we’ll see you then.”
In contrast, Lemon’s ouster had been in the works for months given his demotion to the morning from his primetime slot Don Lemon Tonight where he had spent eight years smearing conservatives, being a race hustler, and spouting off conspiracy theories.
Since arriving at the lowly-rated AM time slot for CNN, Lemon ignited one controversy after another. The New York Post reported February 3 about an off-camera incident from December 8, 2022 in which Lemon sent co-host Kaitlan Collins into an emotional tailspin after berating her for what he felt were repeated interruptions of him during the show. Lemon would then take the next day off.
The fallout dragged on with Collins cutting ties with her agent, who also represented Lemon.
13 days later, Lemon set off a media firestorm for saying 2024 Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley was “past her prime” given her age (51) and women in general are only “in [their] prime” from their 20s to 30s.
And, on April 5, Variety published a lengthy story detailing decades of “misogyny,” “malicious texts,” “mocking female co-workers,” and “‘diva-like behavior’” from Lemon during his 17 year run at the network.