Brian Kilmeade Fills Tucker Carlson’s News Slot After Ouster from Fox

Brian Kilmeade Fills Tucker Carlson’s News Slot After Ouster from Fox
"Fox & Friends" co-host Brian Kilmeade in an undated file photo. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
Tom Ozimek

Brian Kilmeade took over the time slot formerly occupied by the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show on Fox on Monday, hosting the first episode of “Fox News Tonight,” in which Kilmeade briefly addressed Carlson’s shock departure from the network.

Kilmeade, who co-hosts the “Fox & Friends” program, was the first in what’s expected to be a series of temporary fill-ins for Carlson’s former show during the 8 p.m. ET time slot until a permanent replacement is found.

“As you probably have heard, Fox News and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways,” Kilmeade said at the top of the new program. “I wish Tucker the best. I’m great friends with Tucker and always will be. But right now, it’s time for ‘Fox News Tonight,’ so let’s get started.”

Fox announced Carlson’s exit in a statement Monday, saying that the network and Carlson “have agreed to part ways,” adding, “We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.”

Carlson’s final Fox News show was on Friday, April 21, during which he gave no indication that it would be his final appearance on the network.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned company said that it would fill the 8 p.m. time slot formerly occupied by “Tucker Carlson Tonight” with a rotation of hosts until a new one is named.

While it’s unclear what led to Carlson’s departure, he once said that there was a “constant assault” of “never-ending” efforts to get his show canceled.

“Trust me, it’s a constant assault. It’s a never-ending effort to take us off the air,” Carlson told Variety in 2020.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson speaks during 2022 FOX Nation Patriot Awards in Hollywood, Florida on Nov. 17, 2022. (Jason Koerner/Getty Images)
Fox News host Tucker Carlson speaks during 2022 FOX Nation Patriot Awards in Hollywood, Florida on Nov. 17, 2022. (Jason Koerner/Getty Images)

‘Massive Error’

Carlson was Fox News Channel’s most-watched primetime host, with possible candidates for a permanent replacement including Kilmeade, Jesse Watters, Laura Ingraham, Maria Bartiromo, and Sean Hannity.

Hannity, whose eponymous 9 p.m. ET show on Fox follows Carlson’s former time slot, said on his 3 p.m. syndicated radio program “The Sean Hannity Show” on Monday that he was surprised by Carlson’s departure.

“It’s very hard,” Hannity said at the start of his show in regards to Carlson’s exit. “My phone has been blowing up all day. The hard part for me is I don’t have a clue… I have no idea. Was it Tucker’s decision? Was it Fox’s? Was it a mutual agreement that they had? I don’t know.”

“I guess people think that because I’ve been there the longest that I’d have some knowledge or understanding of what’s going on, but… I just don’t,” Hannity added. “For those who think I should, I say to those people, ‘I don’t own the company.’”

Former Fox News host Megyn Kelly discussed Carlson’s departure in an episode of her podcast on Monday. She, like Hannity, expressed surprise.

“I don’t know what drove Fox News to make this decision, and it was clearly Fox News’s decision because they’re not letting him say goodbye,” Kelly said. “That’s my supposition. That’s not inside knowledge… I think this is a massive error. I think this is a massive misjudgment of what their audience wants.”

Kilmeade, who was the first person to step into Carlson’s shoes, urged people to tune in for “Fox News Tonight” in place of Carlson’s now defunct show at 8 p.m., sparking an outpouring of mostly critical reactions on Twitter.

“No one is blaming you Brian, but no one is watching you either,” wrote Brigitte Gabriel, founder of ACT For America, a conservative advocacy group that launched an online petition calling on Fox to reinstate Carlson.

At the time of reporting, the petition had over 839,600 actions taken.

“No! #IStandWithTucker,” the USA Trust Trump account on Twitter said in a Twitter post, with many of the reactions similar in tone.

“I'd rather watch grass grow,” wrote another Twitter user with over 90,000 followers.

Twitter CEO Elon Musk reacted to a meme of a garbage dumpster on fire being carried away by floodwaters, with the Fox News logo on it.

“That meme rings a bell,” Musk wrote cryptically.
Musk was recently interviewed by Carlson, with the tech billionaire warning that artificial intelligence carries a risk of “civilizational destruction.”
Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.
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