Fox News and its marquee personality, Tucker Carlson, have agreed to “part ways,” the cable news network announced Monday in a move that took even the most observant followers of Fox by surprise.

In a four-sentence statement emailed to media shortly before 9:30 a.m. MDT, Fox said that Carlson’s last show was Friday. “We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor,” the statement said.

The network said that “Fox News Tonight,” hosted by a variety of Fox personalities, will air in Carlson’s time slot until a new host is named.

The news came on the heels of the network’s April 18 settlement with Dominion Voting Systems. Fox is to pay Dominion $787.5 million over Dominion’s charges that it had been defamed in Fox’s coverage of the 2020 election.

Fox News defamation suit ends in settlement right before trial

It also follows the release, in court filings, of emails from Carlson in which he said that he hated former President Donald Trump.

“We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait,” one email said, adding, “I hate him passionately.”

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Carlson later said that the emails were taken out of context and that he actually loves Trump “as a person.”

Carlson has consistently been the most popular personality on Fox, and his evening show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” is a ratings leader in the desired demographic of adults aged 25-54. The program averaged 3.25 million total viewers in March, according to AdWeek.

Brian Stelter, CNN’s former media correspondent who wrote a book about Fox and recently announced that he was working on another, called the news “stunning.”

Carlson’s website was unchanged this morning and was still promoting his show, Fox’s top rated, and his Fox Nation streaming shows “Tucker Carlson Today” and “Tucker Carlson Originals.”

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