The more we learn about Tucker Carlson, the more astonishing it is that he lasted five months at Fox, let alone however long it was. Once those texts were subpoenaed, it was all over. He called a top executive a cunt in one of them.
Also, this unpaywalled column by Jack Shafer at Politico gets it right, I think. Even superstars at Fox are just like those Fisher-Price people who can be plugged into, and pulled out of, holes in a child’s toy:
Roger Ailes, the original architect of Fox, who founded the network in 1996 with Murdoch, explained its show-making philosophy to Andrew Ferguson of the Weekly Standard in 2017. The subject was the early evening news-talk program, The Five, which in recent months has outperformed even Carlson’s show. Ailes explained how he filled the slot vacated by solo artist Beck with an ensemble of pundits — building a sort of Archies talk show for the Fox audience. The Five would be performed by five commentators at 5 p.m. Get it?
“Go around the table,” Ailes told Ferguson. “Over on this end, we’ve got the bombshell in a skirt, drop-dead gorgeous. … But smart! She’s got to be smart, or it doesn’t work.” Next, he said, “We have a gruff longshoreman type, salty but not too salty for TV. In the middle there’s the handsome matinee idol. Next to him we have the Salvation Army girl, cute and innocent —but you get the idea she might be a lotta fun after a few pops. On the end, we need a wiseguy, the cut-up.”
When Ailes finally cast the show with his types, Ferguson writes, he summoned them to his office and had them stand in a semi-circle around his desk to explain why he was calling the show The Five. “‘I’m calling it The Five because you are types, not people. You all are about to become very famous, and you’re going to make a lotta money. A lotta money. But don’t ever forget. Right behind you I’ve got somebody exactly like you ready to take your place. So don’t fuck up.”
Tucker Carlson got too big for his britches, and by the time he started talking like an evangelist, even Rupert Murdoch knew he was living on borrowed time. By the time the texts dropped and the Dominion business reached a crescendo, he had a target on his back. This is an old story. Bette Davis made a movie about it.
Ultimately, though, I want to not think of Tucker Carlson after this week. It’s almost fly-fishing season in Maine; let him go get his lines wet and wonder if people will remember who he is when his non-compete expires.
Kate came over last night for her fortnightly laundry date and told some hilarious work stories I wish I could relate here, but they’d probably get her fired. She makes part of her living doing live sound engineering at a number of venues, and had a memorable gig recently. That’s all I can say, other than that I’m still chuckling.
I’m writing this in between gigs, so to speak, myself. Have an interview scheduled in about 20 minutes.
Would you like to se some real bullshit? How about this, Floridians?
A pair of bills making their way through the Florida Legislature could fuel a deluge of property sales and demolitions of historic properties in coastal cities, including Miami Beach and Palm Beach.
If the bills become law, Florida Senate Bill 1356 and House Bill 1317 would strip local municipalities of their authority to determine if certain structures can be demolished, and what could be built in their place.
…The proposed legislation would be a boon for developers.
It would allow owners and developers to demolish “non-conforming” properties within a half mile of the coast and within specific flood zones — regardless of whether the buildings are in a historic district. Non-conforming buildings are any that do not meet new construction requirements under the National Flood Insurance Program.
Sure, those Art Deco hotels in Miami Beach are pretty, but they’re so …short. We need to clear them out and make room for some more glass high-rises. As for Key West, I shudder to think.
Fucking Florida. It’s not going to be worth a fiddler’s damn once DeSantis and crew are done with it.
OK, nearly time for my phone chat. It’s Wednesday, and after it’s over, we’ll be on the downslope of the week.
alex said on April 26, 2023 at 12:02 pm
Just read somewhere this morning that Murdoch called off his engagement to the sexagenarian gold-digger because she revealed herself to be an end-times believin’ fundie freak and that she picked up on Tucker Carlson’s messianic complex and told Rupert that this all had some sort of religious significance to her. And Rupert no likey that stuff.
Over at TPM the consensus seems to be the same as at the WSJ. Fishsticks got too big for his britches and was too much of a loose cannon for an outlet that wants to control the narrative of its footsoldiers.
ROGirl said on April 26, 2023 at 12:19 pm
You can piss off a lot of people at work, but if you piss off the wrong person you’re done. Someone with a lot of power in my company was fired recently in a short end of the day email wishing the employee well in future endeavors. Power is intoxicating, but no one is indespensible.
beb said on April 26, 2023 at 12:23 pm
Florida’s legislature seems determined to make Ronnie Three-Fingers the King of Florida, lege majestry, absolute control and everything. Florida might have been a nice place to visit but I would hate to have to spend any money there.
LAMary said on April 26, 2023 at 1:06 pm
Disney strikes back.
Jeff Borden said on April 26, 2023 at 1:12 pm
While in Japan, Pudd’n Boots slagged Chicago, of course, and declared soon all Chicagoans would be departing for the fascist paradise he’s building in Floriduh. He specifically mentioned Naples as the place where we hell hole survivors will relocate.
Sorry, Bobblehead Boy, but fuck you. I’ll take my urban hell hole over your right-wing kingdom with its anti-intellectualism, its book bans, its intrusion into reproductive rights, its fetish for boom-booms and “stand your ground,” its rapidly approaching ecological comeuppance and its state-sponsored attacks on private enterprise and home rule. BTW, did you know DeathSantis has yet to visit Fort Lauderdale, which suffered a once in a thousand years deluge that did enormous damage? Too busy prepping for a presidential launch that looks likely to emulate Elmo’s space rocket kaboom.
We were in Florida (the Treasure Coast on the Atlantic) for my wife’s high school reunion this past weekend. Monday night an absolutely torrential downpour hit as we were leaving a restaurant. . .flooding over Route 1 and the side streets of Fort Pierce. When we went to fly out of Palm Beach yesterday, none of the conveyor belts were working because they’d been thoroughly flooded out because they got even MORE rain.
But, yeah, Floriduh is ‘Murica’s role model. Bullshit.
David C said on April 26, 2023 at 1:22 pm
A half mile from the coast is going to be something of a moving target when the Greenland and Antarctic glaciers melt and as the ocean heats up. Eat, drink, and be merry Florida. Get your water wings, now.
Julie Robinson said on April 26, 2023 at 1:49 pm
Read Mary’s story @4. As our future DIL keeps telling us, Disney can outspend the state on lawyers because people keep streaming into the parks.
Alex, I think we saw the same story, which also mentioned Tucker’s pro-Russian stance on Ukraine as a burr under Murdoch’s saddle. Apparently they were just waiting for the lawsuit to get settled before swinging the ax. I read it with the Succession theme music in my head.
Rhonda Santis has been on a tour of Japan and Korea and his absence in the flooded areas has been noticed. One legislator from Fort Lauderdale said she wondered where Ron and his little white rain boots had been. https://patch.com/florida/across-fl/ron-desantis-white-boots-steal-focus-ian-recovery-continues
Sherri said on April 26, 2023 at 2:02 pm
You’d think Tucker would’ve have learned this lesson when he got the gig because Bill O’Reilly got the boot, but I guess he thought he’d be different. I’m sure Rupert was grumpy after paying out three quarters of a billion dollars, and with more lawsuits on the way, including one against Tucker from one of his former producers (and she has tapes!), when Tucker went all evangelical at the Heritage event, Rupert was done.
The money trumps the talent every time.
Deborah said on April 26, 2023 at 2:52 pm
I don’t know about you guys but I’m finding the E.Jean Carrol vs Trump rape trial riveting. I keep reading the Twitter threads by the reporters with a minute by minute rundown. They can’t tweet or record in the courtroom, I have no idea how they can keep all the goings on in their heads when they leave and go out to type it up and send it out. It’s better than any TV show that I can think of.
Heather said on April 26, 2023 at 3:24 pm
Having visited Naples on my last trip to Florida, I can say it’s heaven for a certain type of white person and hell for everyone else.
It’s funny how the bots and trolls come out to attack Chicago on Twitter. It’s always “as soon as I can I’m gonna get out of here” and the response is always “good, more housing for the rest of us.”
Bitter Scribe said on April 26, 2023 at 3:43 pm
Carlson has a bad character. Period, full stop. He bitched about Trump and Trump’s moronic acolytes, then turned around and demanded that a Fox reporter who actually told the truth about Trump be fired. He was massively sexist, even by Fox standards; I wonder if any more lawsuits from former employees might be coming?
And that laugh!
I was sure he’d jump right to Newsmax, but as Nancy says, he probably has a noncompete.
Suzanne said on April 26, 2023 at 4:24 pm
I only watched Carlson a few times and very briefly, but could never grasp what the draw was. That constant look of constipation on his face and the stupid laugh and the obvious makeup on his face. Why does the anti drag crowd seem to be so enamored with men like him and Trump and Rudy who obviously are in half drag on a regular basis?
Speaking of drag…
robert said on April 26, 2023 at 5:33 pm
I’ve hated FL ever since I had to live there for 14 long, horrible months back in the 90s. And that was when they still had a Democratic Governor and Senator.
Can’t wait til it’s all covered by the ocean.
Sherri said on April 26, 2023 at 9:03 pm
The party whose standard-bearer is Donald Trump is so worried about decorum that it’s kicking out elected officials. Only those uncivil Democrats, of course, and so far, only a couple of black guys and a trans woman. Don’t they know their place?
FDChief said on April 26, 2023 at 10:48 pm
The key to Fishsticks – and every other MAGAt from Tubby down to the lowest wanna-be – is power.
If you have it? You’re untouchable. Lie, cheat, steal, grab ‘em by the…wherever. You got the free pass. “Accountability”? Hah! That’s for losers; you know – queer people, poor people, black people.
Dexter Friend said on April 27, 2023 at 3:11 am
I remember “the longshoreman-type”…Bob Beckel. He died 14 months ago at 73; he at least had a sense of humor. I never knew of him until he guested on Imus in the Morning many times.
I bought the refurbished truck on Wednesday. Today I’ll be hauling some of this damn junk out to the once-yearly Big Trash Day dumpsters.
Dorothy said on April 27, 2023 at 6:31 am
So I feel like I keep up with the news and personalities and all the chatter around most of them. But what am I missing about calling Carlson “Fish Sticks”? I can’t for the life of me figure out what that’s all about!
In our neighborhood we have several ponds which have been populated with poop-heavy geese (are there any other kind?). They leave the walking paths a despicable mess and people have been really unhappy about them – including me. And yesterday I found out they’re using some kind of lasers to discourage the geese from being in the biggest pond. And it’s working! Does anyone know what it is about the lasers that keeps the geese at bay?
alex said on April 27, 2023 at 7:51 am
Dorothy, I think FDChief deserves credit for that one and it made me laugh so hard that I’ve decided to appropriate it, and I guess others feel likewise. In case you didn’t know, Carlson is an heir of the Swanson frozen food family. And he’ll probably be just fine even without a golden parachute from Fox and even if he never works again (for which we can all fervently pray).
Alan Stamm said on April 27, 2023 at 8:07 am
“Fox couldn’t have cared less when Tucker was saying vulgar, offensive stuff on television about other people, but when he said it in private about Fox News executives, they were suddenly outraged. … [It’s] like canceling ‘Sesame Street’ because you just found out they were puppets.”
— Seth Meyers
Dorothy said on April 27, 2023 at 9:23 am
Thanks Alex! That is pretty funny. No I did not know he was an heir to anything but that puts it in context. I’m glad he’s not heir to Gorton’s because that’s the brand I usually buy. Years ago I filled out some contest form to win a bear in a Gorton’s yellow fisherman’s raincoat and we won one! My son had it – I must have passed it on to a nephew or a friend who had little kids because I haven’t seen it in years.
FDChief said on April 27, 2023 at 9:40 am
So the corollary to the MAGAt worldview above is that if you LOSE power, you’re no better than those scummy darks and poors and queers.
Fishsticks only power was his hold over the CHUDs in the audience to bring in cash for Rupe & Co. When his big mouth cost Rupe money? That meant the “power” was gone; no amount of MAGAt love could fill the hole in Murdoch’s pocket. So Fishsticks had to go.
But he’s a creation of the loons, not a creator of them. He’ll land on Bannon’s gig or Newsmax or wherever, and some other shoutycracker will fill his slot and the wingnut caissons will go rolling along.
Deborah said on April 27, 2023 at 10:47 am
I saw a video that someone linked to online of Tucker recorded from his basement since the canning, and he looked quite diminished, sounded stupid as usual. He was bad mouthing punditry which was exactly what he did so same old, same old.
It’s time for me to get back to the Trump rape trial twitter threads. I can’t get enough of that.
LAMary said on April 27, 2023 at 12:30 pm
Carlson could be Chicken Pot Pie or Salisbury Steak TV Dinner as well. They don’t roll off the tongue as well as Fish Sticks but Swanson has many products that could represent TC’s persona. In UK they call fish sticks fish fingers. I like that one for the Tucker.
Dorothy said on April 27, 2023 at 2:33 pm
He could be Ter-Ducken, too. Man, the possibilities are endless, aren’t they?!
Did anyone else enjoy the Carol Burnett birthday special last night? Mike and I just love the clips they’d show when Harvey Korman could not stay in character. Well, not just Harvey – any of them! Tim Conway was the king of cracking people up enough that they’d break character.
Julie Robinson said on April 27, 2023 at 3:04 pm
You betcha we watched Carol, but weren’t there a lot of commercials? A four minute segment just ten minutes in, and pretty much the same for the rest of the two hours. Streaming has spoiled me. The commercials did provide time for plenty of reminiscing about Carol and our favorite sketches. Mom remembered her from the Garry Moore show in the early 60’s.
I also didn’t know about Tucker Carlson’s family, but then, I’ve paid very little attention to him over the years. Unless there’s a juicy lawsuit I won’t given him any more thought.
Have read several stories about the E Jean Carrol civil trial and my heart goes out to her. The Trump attorneys are putting her on trial and then T and his family are lying about her in public remarks, despite the judge telling them to keep silence. I wish he would find them in contempt of court.
Sherri said on April 27, 2023 at 4:10 pm
I understand that nobody can force DiFi to resign, but I don’t understand why everyone s so protective of her ego that no one is saying out loud the truth: by not resigning, DiFi is making herself more important than democracy. She’s preventing Dems from confirming judges, and she’s preventing Dems from doing anything about the blatant corruption on SCOTUS. Or maybe I just answered my question; a split Judiciary committee gives Dick Durban cover to do nothing about the blatant corruption on SCOTUS. After all, it’s not DiFi’s absence that’s forcing Durbin to keep the stupid blue slip veto of nominees, he’s doing that all on his own.
Jenine said on April 28, 2023 at 11:04 am
@Sherry, yes about DiFi. All else aside it is terrible negotiation.