Tucker Carlson’s stint at ESPN lasted one day after a poor performance on the network’s flagship program, “Sports Center”.
Carlson, who was fired from his longtime political commentary show on Fox News last month, was hired to “provide commentary and insight that may appeal to a demographic ESPN has overlooked” according to a press release from the company, however, Carlson apparently went a little too far.
“You ever wonder why all the teams in the NBA playoffs are in dirty, crime-ridden, Democrat-run cities? Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and, of course, San Francisco,” Carlson said in a segment that was intended to be an analysis of how Golden State won on the road in Game 7 against Sacramento. “And why are large swaths of the nation excluded from the NBA? There are no teams in great states like Nebraska, Montana, Missouri, Kentucky, Alabama, the list goes on. Who’s behind that? Who’s making those decisions?”
The next segment was a discussion about how baseball’s new rules, including a pitch clock, have decreased the time of games. After longtime baseball analyst Buster Olney provided context and history for the decision to speed up the game, Carlson said, “This feels like big brother getting involved. Telling a pitcher he has to throw the ball within 20 seconds? Telling the batter he has 10 seconds to get in the box? What’s next? They tell you want you can do on your own property? In your own home? Where you can go to church? What you can think?”
Olney attempted to steer the conversation back to the topic but Carlson continued, “Anyway, this feels like a one big distraction from the real issue in baseball – all these migrants from countries like The Dominican Republic, Mexico, and communist-run Cuba taking jobs that Americans used to do.”
Carlson’s final segment was supposed to be a straight read of highlights, but again, he went off script.
“The New York Mets won, 6-3, against the Atlanta Braves. Braves. Braves. Braves, Braves, Braves, Braves. Braves. Braves… Braves. Take that libs. Also, I refuse to say the ridiculous and frankly disgusting new mascot of the Cleveland baseball team until they start calling themselves the Indians again. Same goes for the Washington Re…” producers then hastily cut to commercial.
When the show returned, Carlson had been replaced by an AI-generated hologram of the legendary sports broadcaster Howard Cosell.
“We’d been keeping that on ice until the summer when our ratings go down a little,” ESPN executive Tom Williams said. “We didn’t want to rush the debut, but we were desperate, and frankly, we needed to get people talking about something else.”
Carlson was fired the next day.
It’s been a rough few weeks for the former cable TV star, who was also hired, and then quickly terminated, by PBS after Carlson appeared on two of its most popular shows. In an unaired segment on “Antiques Roadshow”, a woman identified only as “Marian from Phoenix” brought in a cinnabar vase she said her grandmother had told her was made in China during the Ming Dynasty, but instead of evaluating the piece, Carlson said, “Marian, I’m so glad you’re here. You’re from Phoenix, now tell me the truth, there’s no way Joe Biden won Arizona, right? I mean, come on. And since you’re a White person with money, I’ll believe you.”
PBS also tried him as the successor to the late Bob Ross on a reboot of “The Joy of Painting”.
“I wish these could be happy little clouds, friends, but they’re not. They are the black, ominous, lightning-filled clouds of socialism, wokeness, and cancel culture, devastating the country you and I love,” he said, sitting in front of a portrait of a family being taken from their farm house and forced into a FEMA trailer.
“We thought…oh, hell, I don’t know what we were thinking,” PBS programmer Vanessa Choi said.
Carlson hadn’t been heard from for a few days until Thursday when he was spotted outside a bus stop in Akron, Ohio with a handmade cardboard sign that read: “Will race-bait for food.”