Fox News promotes Jesse Watters as search for Tucker Carlson's replacement ends
New York, New York - Fox News announced Monday its replacement for ousted primetime host Tucker Carlson will be Jesse Watters, an equally provocative far-right commentator.
The move is part of a shake-up at the cable news giant nine weeks after it parted ways with Carlson following Fox's $787-million payout to settle a defamation case brought by an election technology company.
In announcing Watters, a co-host of Fox's evening roundtable show The Five, the company unveiled a new prime-time lineup, with Jesse Watters Primetime airing in Carlson's previous slot at 8:00 PM.
The change comes as Fox seeks to staunch financial bleeding since Carlson's departure in May, with evening ratings reportedly crashing after his acrimonious exit.
Watters (44) began working at Fox as a production assistant after graduating from college in 2001, and soon appeared on air as an interviewer with an "ambush journalism" style.
He gained a reputation for on-the-street interviews with unwitting suspects, often politicians, government officials or liberal activists, many of whom bristled at Watters's approach.
He has also been accused of airing racist segments, has derided the homeless as "people that have failed in life," and mocked immigrants.
In late 2021, during the pandemic, he urged attendees at a conservative political conference to "ambush" Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert who became the face of America's fight against Covid-19.
He called on them to "go in for the kill shot" with a barrage of questions at Fauci.
Fauci said later that Watters should be "fired on the spot," but in a statement Fox defended their star.
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Watters' predecessor constantly aired a firestorm of conspiracy theories – from the racist "great replacement" theory, to vaccine falsehoods and anti-transgender propaganda.
Carlson was also quick to spread disinformation, particularly Trump's baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 election.
But the defamation case, in which Dominion Voting Systems accused Fox News of airing false claims after the election, led to the release of damning private messages between Fox hosts, including Carlson, who wrote that he couldn't wait until he could "ignore Trump most nights," adding: "I hate him passionately."
Carlson has since moved his show to Twitter, where his videos have been viewed more than 100 million times.
Fox News has launched a legal battle to halt his shows, arguing they violate the terms of his contract.`
Cover photo: Jason Koerner / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP