CNN host Don Lemon and Fox News host Tucker Carlson both exited their cable outlets abruptly Monday after a series of controversies. The announcements mark a seismic shift in the media landscape.
Hours before Fox News announced the departure of Carlson in a statement, the network continued to promote his primetime show, indicating the suddenness of the separation.
“Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways,” said Fox News in a statement. “We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.”
The last program for Carlson was Friday. “Fox News Tonight” will now air at 8 p.m. EST in the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” time slot. The show began Monday as an “interim show helmed by rotating Fox News personalities until a new host is named,” according to the network.
Lemon responded fiercely to being ousted, tweeting he was “stunned” that the network terminated him.
“At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to continue to do the work I have loved at the network. It is clear that there are some larger issues at play,” wrote Lemon.
However, CNN tweeted that Lemon’s statement is “inaccurate” and that he was “offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter.
The exits come before the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, scheduled for Saturday. The annual event has been attended by presidents from both political parties for decades. It is meant to honor journalists and celebrate the First Amendment.
The headliner typically takes the stage to deliver a traditional dinner roast. However, with the news of Carlson and Lemon’s departures, this year’s headliner, Roy Wood Jr., said he already threw out his script.
Both anchors have faced controversy in recent months, concluding with their departures Monday.
Lemon worked for CNN for 17 years. He said on-air in February that presidential candidate Nikki Haley “isn’t in her prime” and that a woman is “in her prime in her 20s, 30s, 40s.” The anchor later apologized for his comments on Twitter and didn’t appear the next day on “CNN This Morning.”
Last month, the White House condemned Carlson and singled them out for his assessment of the January 6 incident at the U.S. Capitol. The revelations were made public in the Dominion lawsuit.
Abby Grossberg, former “Tucker Carlson Tonight” producer, is also suing the network after stating her firing was unlawful and an act of retaliation.
Carlson joined Fox News in 2009 as a contributor and took over the network’s 8 p.m. hour after Bill O’Reilly was forced out in 2017.
Tucker Carlson was one of the most-watched hosts on the cable news network, with an average of 3.2 million viewers.
On Monday morning, Fox News was still previewing Carlson’s show and teasing an interview with Vivek Ramaswamy, GOP presidential hopeful, set to air Monday night.
Harris Faulkner, Fox News anchor, addressed Tucker Carlson’s departure on Monday, stating, “We have some news from within our Fox family. Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson have mutually agreed to part ways.”
Former and current TV hosts and politicians react to anchor departures
Current and former TV hosts and politicians quickly responded to the news of the exits.
Megyn Kelly, a former Fox News anchor, who left the network in 2017, said the news was “Good for Tucker.”
“Trust me, he doesn’t need them,” Kelly tweeted.
Sean Hannity, also a Fox host, posted to Twitter, “LATER LEMON!” but didn’t address Tucker Carlson’s departure.
“Good News: “The ‘dumbest man on television,’ Don Lemon, has finally been fired from Fake News CNN,” said former President Donald Trump on his Truth Social. “My only question is, WHAT TOOK THEM SO LONG?”
In a tweet, English-language news outlet RT News, backed by Russia, appeared to offer Carlson a job.
“Hey @TuckerCarlson, you can always question more with @RT_com,” wrote RT News.