Tucker Carlson ‘plotting to host GOP debate’ despite being axed by Fox

The ex-anchor has reportedly talked to former president Donald Trump about the idea

Abe Asher
Friday 05 May 2023 12:07 BST
Former Fox News producer says Tucker Carlson made her life 'a living hell'

Tucker Carlson is no longer with Fox News, but he reportedly still wants to host a Republican primary debate.

Carlson separated from Fox News in late April and is not currently attached to a network or media company, but The Washington Post reported on Thursday that he’s angling to host an independent primary debate and has been in touch with former President Donald Trump – who is currently polling ahead of the rest of the GOP field – about the idea.

A potential debate featuring Carlson and Mr Trump would likely be seen as a serious challenge to Fox News, which has seen its primetime ratings fall since Carlson’s dismissal.

Fox News is set to host the first Republican primary debate in August, but Mr Trump has threatened to skip that debate — and the next one — out of personal frustrations with hosting and broadcasting entities and a concern that sharing a debate stage with his challengers could boost their profiles.

Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chair, said on Sunday that she believes Mr Trump should and ultimatley will participate.

“Every candidate is going to make that calculation,” Ms McDaniel told Fox News Sunday. “What I think the American people want to see is these candidates; they want to see what they’re articulating, and especially what is your plan to take us out of the misery of Joe Biden.”

But if Mr Trump does decline to participate in one or both early debates, it could entice media companies eager for ratings to consider airing an alternative debate or candidate forum with Carlson as host.

Exactly how Carlson could pull off such a project remains to be seen. The former host’s Fox contract reportedly runs through the end of 2024, and that contract could significantly limit his ability to take on new projects or appear on other networks if he does not reach an agreement with the network to terminate his contract early.

If Carlson does get out of the contract, there would likely be a number of right-wing media networks interested in obtaining his services. The Post reported that Newsmax is among the networks interested in signing Carlson.

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