By Helen Coster
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s new media company has begun building its base of paying subscribers as it moves toward launch, its chief executive told Reuters.
“We’ve opened our site for membership pre-sales,” said Neil Patel, co-founder and chief executive of the new venture. “Once we are comfortable that all of the systems are running well, launch and brand release will follow.”
Patel said those paying subscribers will have access to members-only content and behind-the-scenes footage. He declined to comment on the pricing.
Carlson is capitalizing on his popularity among conservative viewers after being taken off the air by Fox News in April, following a defamation lawsuit over false claims of election fraud. In addition to its subscription offering, the venture will also distribute free content on X, formerly known as Twitter, and other platforms, the Wall Street Journal first reported.
Since June, Carlson has been releasing videos on X. On his show, “Tucker on X,” he has interviewed guests including Javier Milei, Argentina’s libertarian president-elect; Hungary’s nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orbán; and Larry Sinclair, who repeated unsubstantiated and widely dismissed claims that he had taken drugs and had sex with former U.S. President Barack Obama.
Carlson’s August interview with former U.S. President Donald Trump, who had opted out of a Republican primary debate on Fox News the same night, drew more than 74 million views on X, according to statistics on the platform.
Fox News Media and Carlson agreed to part ways in late April, less than a week after parent company Fox Corp settled Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit for $787.5 million. Carlson’s prime-time show, "Tucker Carlson Tonight," was the highest-rated cable news program in the key 25-to-54 age demographic on the most-watched U.S. cable news network.
Patel was chief policy adviser to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and with Carlson cofounded the conservative Daily Caller news site, of which he remains publisher.
(Reporting by Helen Coster in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)