Cable news will never be the same after April 24, 2023—and maybe that's a good thing? On Monday, two of the biggest personalities in the media world, Tucker Carlson from Fox News and Don Lemon of CNN, were each fired.
Each of those firings would’ve been stunning on its own; Carlson is maybe the most recognizable name on Fox News, and Lemon has been a fixture on CNN since 2014. But for both to come on the same day—despite major career turbulence for both in the last few months—was a "complete and crazy coincidence," according to media analyst Brian Stetler. Stetler said in a tweet that neither Fox News nor CNN knew what the other was planning.
Lemon's exit was perhaps more predictable; for the last few months when the CNN This Morning co-anchor was accused of misogynistic comments, diva-like behavior and one memorable on-air incident where he actually made presidential candidate Nikki Haley look good, saying she was too old to be "In her prime" (she's 51). After that happened in February, the network pulled Lemon off the air temporarily and he was said to be going through formal training to address the remarks. Lemon's criticisms of Donald Trump made him a target for conservatives. Last year, CNN CEO Chris Licht said Lemon was going to need to move away from his "lightning rod" tendencies.
Lemon says he was given no advance warning, claiming in a tweet that he was told by his agent Monday morning he was being terminated. "I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly… It is clear that there are some larger issues at play."
Back in 2020, Lemon spoke to LEVEL and it was clear even at that time that he was planning to be more outspoken and less inhibited on air going forward. That definitely happened and apparently there were real consequences to doing so.
In the case of Carlson, even despite Fox News' massive loss in a defamation suit from Dominion Voting Systems to the tune of $787.5 million, the exit was a lot more surprising. Even though Carlson was tarnished in the lawsuit, so was the entirety of Fox News and its founder, Rupert Murdoch. It seemed like Carlson would survive to stoke white fear for many years to come. Probably not helping things: a hostile workplace lawsuit that was filed against Carlson's show by a former employee.
Like Lemon, Carlson was given no advance warning of his shitcanning, which he was apparently informed of Monday morning as well. His show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, will be replaced by Fox News Tonight for the time being.
So what's next? Will the two go on the road together and do an opposites-attract comedy show? Will MSNBC scoop up Lemon and Newsmax take in Carlson? Will they each go write books about their experiences and make millions of dollars as free-speech martyrs? Your guess is as good as ours but it's a good bet we haven't heard the last of Don Lemon or Tucker Carlson.
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