According to reports, Tucker Carlson has expressed an interest in moderating forums for Republican candidates and has discussed this possibility with former President Donald Trump.
The former president and Republican primary frontrunner recently floated the idea of skipping the forums moderated by Fox News after the “hostile” network failed to seek his advice on the issue.
According to the Washington Post, Carlson has spoken with Trump about displacing Fox News as the hosting moderator to “take a jab at his former employer”:
Carlson and his team have discussed the possibility of moderating a candidate forum outside of the traditional protocols surrounding the GOP primary debate system, according to two people familiar with the considerations.
These people said the setup — as well as Carlson’s availability to take on that kind of role, given the noncompete constraints of his contract with Fox — remain unclear.
But Carlson has personally expressed enthusiasm about the idea, according to people familiar with his comments. At least one major candidate — Trump — has told Carlson he’s interested, according to a person familiar with the exchange.
The former Fox host’s interest in a debate is said to stem in part from its potential to loosen the Republican National Committee’s grip on the process, as well as to challenge the role traditionally played by the major television networks.
“He could go straight to the candidates, stream it live, invite the networks but maintain control over the process,” said one person familiar with the discussions.
Carlson’s interest in hosting the candidate forums coincides with reports that he is taking calls from networks interested in employing his services.
Those networks include Trinity Broadcast Network, One America News Network, and Newsmax.
“A stronger pitch has come from Newsmax, the conservative media company that has seen a prime-time ratings surge this past week at the same time Fox was losing viewers from Carlson’s old time slot,” the Post reported.
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy told the paper he would be open to “rebranding Newsmax under Tucker’s name,” an idea that has reportedly piqued Carlson’s interest. But Carlson’s contract status remains at issue with Fox News, which could thwart any immediate professional moves for one of the most popular TV hosts of all time.
“As of right now, the plan remains the same: pay out Carlson’s contract and keep him on the sidelines through the 2024 elections,” a source close to Fox News senior executives revealed last week.
“They knew they would take a beating for this, but everyone — and I mean everyone — is pretty rattled. They weren’t expecting the blowback to be this bad. Hate to say it, but it’s clear that Rupert Murdoch has lost a step or two,” the source added.
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