The decision by Fox News management to fire Tucker Carlson looks worse by the day.
Now Carlson is looking at his second act.
And Tucker Carlson is about to take a new job that will drive the final nail in Fox News’s coffin.
When Fox News fired Carlson in April management operated under the assumption that the Fox News brand was the real star of the show, and that Carlson would be nothing without the platform provided to him by Fox News.
Both assumptions turned out to be woefully misguided.
Since firing Carlson, Fox News lost 30 percent of its overall primetime audience and – more importantly – 45 percent of viewers in the critical 25-54 age demographic.
The decline in viewership in the 25-54 demographic hurt Fox News in the pocketbook as the numbers in that group are what Fox News uses to set the rates it charges to buy commercial time.
Carlson – on the other hand – keeps producing episodes of his show on Twitter that go viral racking up hundreds of millions of views and drive news conversation on the right such as when former Capitol Hill Police Chief Steven Sund told Carlson that January 6 is a set-up.
But Carlson’s next move is something far grander than posting videos to social media.
Carlson and his college roommate and Daily Caller co-founder Neil Patel have met with some of the biggest donors in conservative politics about raising hundreds of millions of dollars to set up a competing news venture where Carlson will host the flagship show.
The two recently met with Rebekah Mercer – an investor in Breitbart and early supporter of Donald Trump – and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel who was the only Silicon Valley bigwig to back Trump in 2016 and who spent over $30 million in 2022 to help elect America First conservative J.D. Vance to the United States Senate.
“Mercer has spoken with Carlson since his April departure from Fox News about possibly investing in his as yet unnamed media company, sources told CNBC. Thiel has hinted to allies that he could invest in the venture after hearing from Carlson’s side, these people added,” CNBC exclusively reported.
“Any business between Carlson and Mercer could be part of a larger financing effort led by investment firm 1789 Capital, which is already planning an eight-figure investment into the former Fox News host’s media venture,” the CNBC report continued.
Carlson’s new venture will be a subscription-based streaming service that could threaten the future of Fox News.
A 2021 study found just 30 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 still have cable or satellite TV.
46 percent of Americans ages 30-49 subscribed to cable or satellite TV.
This number spells the death knell for the cable bundle.
And that is bad news for Fox as the carriage fees networks like Fox charge cable operators are still the lifeblood of their business model.
The future is streaming, and Fox News lost nearly half of its younger viewers after firing Carlson.
As linear TV fades away and streaming takes over, Fox News will be in a fight to attract younger viewers.
And if Tucker Carlson is putting out a competing product that is a fight Fox News will lose.