Tucker Carlson has been a leading force in American nightly news for 20 years. His unique style of confrontation and analysis has amazed guests and audiences across all the politically-charged stations. The Fox News staple has overseen four presidential elections and remains the most-watched cable news show for Americans across the country.
Just as he likes to explore stories of the everyday man, we will explore his story and find out how he got to where he is today. Strap in, it’s going to be a wild ride!
Tucker Carlson was born on May 16, 1969, making him 49 at time of writing. As the anchor approaches his half-century mark, he has already accomplished more than some achieve in a lifetime.
He grew up in his hometown of La Jolla, California, and attended St. George’s school before continuing to Trinity College. His parents are Lisa McNear Lombardi and Dick Carlson – a former journalist and US Ambassador to Seychelles. It seems he was destined for a life of journalism!
Carlson lived abroad during his early school years in St. George’s School, located in Middleton, Rhode Island. After successfully graduating, he continues his education in Connecticut, staying on the East Coast, and graduated from Trinity College in 1992.
His final degree was in History, and not Journalism as expected, but his views and knowledge of history gave him a strong anchor to entering the media. By learning about the ins and outs of America and the world, it gave him an advantage over other anchors who focussed on the glitz and glam of the Media.
Love At First Sight
It was revealed during a Mother’s Day special episode of Fox and Friends in 2014 that Tucker Carlson has been happy with his wife, Susan, since they were both 15! They met each other in the 10th grade of St. George’s School and have been together ever since.
By 1991, they tied the knot and share four children together. Talking about his marriage, Carlson explains, “we’ve been together 30 years, so it’s a little hard to imagine what it’s not like to be [together],”
To date, Tucker Carlon has three daughters and one son. He often spends time reading to them and making sure that he always made time to tuck them into bed.
Susan remains a stay-at-home mother to their children and they make sure to take vacations together to explore the world in more ways than just television and media-controlled frenzies that their father works in! After 27 years of marriage, things have never been stronger for the couple.
Start of Journalism
Tucker Carlson began to make the transition from history to journalism as a fact-checker at Policy Review. The national conservative journal used to be published by The Heritage Foundation. There, Carlson honed his skills of social, political, and economic analysis when writing about the issues of the day pertaining to right-leaning readers.
The publication has since been bought by the Hoover Institution, and Carlson moved on to different projects. It proved to be the boost that he needed to make a name for himself in particular circles.
Searching For Stories
As a newspaper and magazine writer, Carlson had the opportunity to travel the world and report on different stories. On top of this, he was also a writer for Reader’s Digest, The Weekly Standard, Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, and The Daily Beast.
He was quick to jump into the world of journalism and media analysis. This wide breadth of experience led him to his first foray on to the national stage as a co-host on the left-leaning CNN – how did he survive?
In 2000, Tucker Carlson co-hosted a show on CNN called The Spin Room. Although the show only lasted one year, it was a huge stepping stone for Carlon since it helped him become a household name an earned him more recognition on television and in people’s homes.
At the time, Carlson was CNN’s youngest ever anchor, helping him bring youthful energy to the channel. Between 2001-2005, he appeared as a co-host on Crossfire, where he represented the politically-right point of view.
An Appearance For The History Books
One of his most notable appearances on CNN was from October 2004, when Jon Stewart appeared on Crossfire just before the presidential election. In the heated exchange between the two, Stewart argued that Carlson and Crossfire was a harmful addition to political discourse across the country.
Even after the televised segment, the two of them remained backstage and continued their discussion privately for a few hours. Even though the rest of America didn’t see it, the conversation was fuelled with passion and knowledge from both sides of the spectrum.
A Coincidental Ending
Only two months after the famous Jon Stewart appearance and Bush’s second electoral victory, CNN decided to end its relationship with Tucker Carlson. They canceled Crossfire and he was released from the station. According to an interview with Carson, he had apparently already quit the station in April of 2004.
He called CNN a ‘frustrating’ place to work due to the combative nature of the opposing political sides and that no one listened to anyone else. His next move would prove to be an interesting choice.
His Time At MSNBC
By 2005, Tucker Carlson landed at MSNBC hosting an early evening show called Tucker. Here, he managed to explore different parts of the world while news was breaking outside of the United States. For example, he traveled to Haifa, Israel, during the 2006 Lebanon War.
After only three seasons, it was announced that Tucker would be canceled, due to low ratings. As noted by Brian Stelter of The New York Times, MSNBC moved more radically to the left during the show’s tenure, and so there was no more space for Carlson and his right-leaning views.
Fox News – A New Era
Finding his feet on the ground on a new channel, Fox News hired Tucker Carlson as a contributor and frequent guest panelist for the late-night satirical show Red Eye With Greg Gutfeld.
While building a reputation for himself among Fox News viewers, he took over from Sean Hannity in his absence and produced specific shows for the station such as Fighting for Our Children’s Minds. In 2013, he joined Fox and Friends as a weekend co-host, replacing Dave Briggs who departed the station for NBC.
Tucker Carlson Tonight
A week after the 2016 election, it was announced that Tucker Carlson Tonight would premiere each night. It was created to replace On The Record, a show that was about to finish.
When the show started on November 14, 2016, 3.7 million people tuned in – making it ‘the network’s most-watched telecast of the year in the timeslot.’ Since March 2017, it attracts larger audiences than CNN and MSNBC combined. CNN has retorted by calling him a white supremacist.
The Daily Caller
On top of his television anchor career, Tucker Carlson continued his love of print and online media through The Daily Caller – a publication he co-founded with former Vice President Dick Cheney. Carlson was editor-in-chief and wrote occasional opinion pieces, always claiming to be ideologically-balanced.
However, it has attracted controversy for not publishing negative pieces on Fox News. As of February 2010, it has had a seat in the White House rotating press pool. Today, it attracted a monthly visit rate of 29 million people. That’s a serious audience!
Dancing With The Stars
It’s not all political fun and games for Tucker Carlson – he has been known to enter more dangerous arenas, such as musical settings and ice rinks. Way back in 2006, Carlson appeared on the third season of Dancing with the Stars alongside professional dancer Elena Grinenko.
He underwent four hours of dance classes a day, except for a special project while he was working at MSNBC. He says, commenting on the experience: “I want to lead an interesting life… I’m 37. I’ve got four kids. I have a steady job. I don’t do things that I’m not good at very often. I’m psyched to get to do that.” He was voted out on the first week.
Today, it is estimated that Tucker Carlson’s net worth is around $8 million. This may sound like a lot but it is considerably less than his colleagues at Fox News. Megyn Kelly made approximately $15-20 million before her departure in 2017.
Bill O-Reilley also reached numbers of $20 million in his prime. Sean Hannity has been rumored to earn a salary as high as $80 million. Tucker Carlson still has a few good years ahead of him – so who knows what he might earn in a few years?
RIP The Bow Tie
Bow ties became synonymous with the late-night host all the way to 2006. Carlson wore the signature clothing item and quickly became known for the alternative accessory, likening him to Doctor Who. In 2006, he retired the bow tie after being called out on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Speaking with Alex Jones about leaving that part of his image behind, he said: “”if you wear a bow tie, it’s like [wearing] a middle finger around your neck; you’re just inviting scorn and ridicule … the number of people screaming the F-word at me … it wore me down after a while so I gave in and became conventional.”
Tucker Carlson is a seasoned writer who has published a number of best-selling books. In 2003, he wrote an autobiography titled Politicians, Partisans, and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News. It discussed his TV experience and revealed how he was falsely accused of raping a woman he had never met.
In October 2018, his first of a two-book deal was published: Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution. It jumped to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List.
Holding right-leaning views in American mainstream media doesn’t come without its hiccups along the way. Over his career, he has been called a white supremacist, racist, sexist, islamophobe, conspiracy theorist, and a bigot.
His views that criticize legal and illegal immigrants have been met negatively from being on both sides of the spectrum – including fellow conservative Mitt Romney. Carlson has said that there is an impending race war in the US, charged by last year’s protests from Brett Kavanagh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Tucker Carlson remains the most popular late-night host on cable television today. His ranking has solidified his position as one of America’s most trusted and valued voices for audiences across the nation.
As he grows in audience and reputation, he’s a force in defense for the Trump administration and conservative values. It doesn’t come without its problems, however. He has claimed that he can’t eat out in restaurants anymore because he gets shouted out by left-leaning opponents.