Firing of Tucker Carlson: Fox News’ decision to fire its highest-rated host, Tucker Carlson, has left many wondering about the reasons behind the move. While there are several plausible explanations, one veteran television news executive believes it came down to a simple risk-reward calculation by the Murdochs.
Fox News’ sudden firing of Tucker Carlson may have come down to one simple calculation
After Fox News fired its top-rated host Tucker Carlson, the media and political worlds were left wondering why. Several explanations have emerged, from a producer’s lawsuit alleging rampant sexism and anti-Semitic behavior to Carlson’s disparaging remarks about his colleagues, to Rupert Murdoch wanting to assert control over the company. But one veteran television news executive believes it all comes down to a simple risk-reward calculation by the Murdochs.
The Risk-Reward Calculation:
According to the veteran executive, the Murdochs made the decision based on a weighing of the negatives and risks to the business versus the positives or benefits. In this case, holding on to Carlson comes with more risk than reward. Carlson is not a team player and is uncontrollable, carries legal baggage, and regularly generates negative news cycles about the network. Meanwhile, mainstream advertisers have stayed away from his show, which is too toxic to associate with.
The Murdochs also have plenty of evidence to support their belief that Fox News is bigger than any single person. Several high-profile hosts, including Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Megyn Kelly, have exited the network, yet the network has endured. The Murdochs are confident that whoever they put in prime time will rate, as it is pretty much enshrined as a law of physics in the universe of right-wing media.
The Carlson Factor:
However, Carlson is unlike any other personality in right-wing media and politics. He commands a loyal audience that is not akin to anything else in the space. If he were to turn up on another channel, it’s possible that a significant chunk of his audience would follow him over, especially with former President Donald Trump eager to fan chaos in right-wing media. The Murdochs are betting that Fox News as a brand trumps any single personality, but it is still a bet, and it remains to be seen how things will shake out when the dice land.
While the reasons behind Tucker Carlson’s firing from Fox News remain unclear, one veteran television news executive believes it all comes down to a simple risk-reward calculation by the Murdochs. Holding on to Carlson comes with more risk than reward, given his legal baggage, uncontrollable nature, and negative impact on the network’s brand. While the Murdochs are confident in Fox News’ ability to endure without any single personality, Carlson’s loyal audience and unique appeal make this a risky bet.