UPDATED with FNC confirmation: Tucker Carlson is taking over for Brit Hume as host of Fox News Channel’s 7 PM show left open when Greta Van Susteren vacated earlier this year in a contract dispute. Fox News Channel has confirmed Carlson landed the 7 PM timeslot and will debut on November 14, though Hume spilled the beans earlier today:
Though Hume suggested otherwise, the Carlson show will not be called On The Record, though a new name has not yet been locked. Carlson’s new gig ends talk of the network going in a less conservative direction with the exit of Roger Ailes. That chatter had continued in some industry quarters, despite comments to the contrary made by 21st Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch, who stepped in as Fox News interim CEO in the wake of Ailes ouster. The hire of Carson, said by sources to be a Murdoch protege, is the first big on-air move since Murdoch moved in.
Don’t expect Carlson to appear before the election, since details still are being pounded out.
Hume has been filled in as host since early September, when FNC announced Van Susteren was gone, effective immediately. At the time, FNC said Hume would fill in through the presidential election. Back then, Van Susteren took to Facebook to explain that she had take advantage of that much-discussed clause in her contract allowing her to leave and explained her hasty exit with: “The clause had a time limitation, meaning I could not wait.”
Like Van Susteren, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Bret Baier have “key man” clauses in their contracts that allow them to leave if Fox News chief Roger Ailes departed. Which, of course, Ailes did in July, as FNC parent 21st Century Fox investigated Ailes and the network after Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes.
Another FNC timeslot may open up for Murdoch to fill. Fox News also is in negotiations with Megyn Kelly whose contract expires in the not-distant future. Kelly recently agreed to co-host Live with Kelly the morning after the presidential election. Same day that booking was announced, Murdoch gave an interview to his newspaper, Wall Street Journal, to publicly announce Kelly is important to the network and he hopes to get her under contract “very soon,” while sending her a message that “we have a deep bench of talent, many of whom would give their right arm for her” timeslot.
Carlson, 47, joined FNC as a contributor in ’09, and co-hosts the weekend edition of Fox & Friends since ’13. Before joining Fox News, he hosted Tucker on MSNBC for three years. But Carlson, who also is founder of the conservative web site The Daily Caller, is maybe most famous for co-hosting CNN’s slugfest show Crossfire, including that fateful day in 2004 when fake newsman Jon Stewart paid the show a visit and “disembowled it” as another of its co-hosts, the liberal Paul Begala, described.