Kevin Spacey Makes Surprise Return in Tucker Carlson Christmas Video, Pokes Fun at Netflix

The Christmas Eve episode of Tucker Carlson’s video series on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) featured a surprise appearance by actor Kevin Spacey in a tongue-in-cheek analysis of the presidential election.

Spacey, who has been out of the public spotlight the past half decade due to sexual misconduct allegations, appears to be playing Frank Underwood, his corrupt politician character from the Netflix series “House of Cards” (though he is never named in the video, thus avoiding any copyright issues).

The seven-minute satirical video, which had garnered 13 million views within 12 hours, is styled as “The Tucker Carson Interview,” with the host stating that the 2024 presidential campaign seems a foregone conclusion and wondering if there’s anyone “who could jump in at this late date and rescramble the calculus of electoral politics.”

Tucker then points to Spacey, who speaks with Underwood’s trademark southern drawl and affectations (including his penchant for turning toward the camera to address the audience directly).

“I’ve always believed nothing should be off the table in life or in art,” Spacey says with a touch of double meaning. “We need to get some adults back in the room.”

Amid a brief discussion of some of the candidates and the need to filter out the noise of social media, Carlson references previous Christmas Eve videos posted by Spacey in 2018, 2019 and 2020, before claiming the two of them have something in common.

“We both got canned by our network,” Spacey replies in agreement.

Carlson’s top-rated show on Fox News was canceled in April 2023 in the wake of lawsuits over coverage of the 2020 presidential election. Carlson subsequently started his X show as well as his own streaming service, Tucker Carlson Network.

Spacey was fired by Netflix in 2017 following the first claims of sexual abuse levied against him, just prior to the start of production of the sixth and final season of “House of Cards.”

“But they actually tried to kill you,” Carlson says, referring to “House of Cards” altering its storyline to have Underwood die offscreen in between the seasons.

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After some criticisms of the media landscape, the pair turn their attention toward Netflix.

Spacey, still speaking as Underwood, claims that Netflix’s iconic “tudum” logo sound was based on him pounding his fist on his desk at the end of season two of “House of Cards.”

“So it is bizarre that they decided to publicly cut ties with me on allegations alone,” Spacey says. “Allegations that have now been proven false.”

A British jury in July found Spacey not guilty of several sexual assault allegations.

“I don’t think there’s any question,” Spacey continues, “Netflix exists because of me. I put them on the map and they tried to put me in the ground.”

“When are you getting back to work, by the way?” Carlson asks, seemingly addressing the question to Spacey more than Underwood.

“I’ve been back at work from the moment we started talking, Tucker,” Spacey replies, still in character though blurring the lines of reality a bit. “What’s true? What’s false? What’s life? What’s art? What’s real? What’s performance? I love it when these things intersect because then it gets interesting.”

Tucker then asks what role Spacey/Underwood sees himself in going forward.

“I will play whatever role the public wants me to play,” Spacey answers.

Spacey is slated to make his acting comeback in 2024 in the thriller Peter Five Eight, which was completed in 2022.

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Fox CEO: ‘We’re Ready to Go’ With a Direct-to-Consumer Offering Surrounding News and Sports

Fox Corp. may have largely turned its back on the subscription streaming video-on-demand market, but it hasn’t turned a cold shoulder to direct-to-consumer digital media distribution.

The company currently operates several digital platforms including the free ad-supported Tubi entertainment streaming platform, along with ad-supported Fox Weather, subscription-based Fox Nation and Fox News International.

Lachlan Murdoch

With pay-TV operators continuing to hemorrhage video subscribers, the media company is eyeing distributing its legacy Fox News and Fox Sports programming brands via over-the-top channels, according to CEO Lachlan Murdoch.

“They will be part of any scaled [digital] platform [going forward] regardless of what technology is used to deliver that content and that platform,” Murdoch said on the May 9 fiscal call. “We see DTC in the future. It will come eventually. As we’ve said before, ‘we’re ready to go,’ we have the technology in place to go DTC when we deem that necessary or prudent.”

At the same time, the executive reiterated that Fox continues to drive “industry leading” affiliate pricing across the multichannel video programing distribution ecosystem.

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Affiliate fee and advertising revenue in the quarter topped $1.85 billion and $1.87 billion, respectively, up from $1.79 billion and $1.3 billion in the previous-year period.

“Our pricing is not theoretical, it has been set regarding a third of our programming in this fiscal year,” Murdoch said. “We’re very pleased with where we sit and where we’ve established a market price for our brands.”

Tucker Carlson Out at Fox News

Controversial conservative opinion host Tucker Carlson is out at Fox News, the network announced April 24. The last “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show aired on April 21.

“We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor,” the company said in a statement without elaborating.

Carlson’s departure, arguably Fox News’ biggest personality, comes on the heels of Fox Corp.’s record $787.5 million defamation lawsuit settlement with plaintiff Dominion Voting Systems. Carlson, along with other prominent Fox News talking heads, pushed the opinion that Dominion’s voting machines somehow contributed to former President Trump’s 2020 re-election loss.

In private, Carlson, along with other hosts, said he believed the allegations against Dominion to be false, according to emails made public by Dominion prior to scheduled trial.

In the void left by Carlson’s exit, “Fox News Tonight” will broadcast an interim show hosted by rotating Fox News personalities until a new host is named.

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Fox Nation Streaming Salutes American Patriots

Fox Nation, the lifestyle and entertainment subscription streaming video arm of Fox News, hosted the platform’s third annual Patriot Awards honoring select military veterans, first responders and other everyday heroes.

Held Nov. 17 in Hollywood, Fla., the event presented the “Most Valuable Patriot” award to the first Black female Olympic gold medalist for wrestling, Tamyra Mensah-Stock, who was born in Ghana.

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Judge Jeanine Pirro presented the Courage Award to Todd Beamer, who sacrificed his life to save those on the ground when United Airlines Flight 93 was hijacked al-Qaeda terrorists and crashed on Sept. 11, 2001. His parents David and Peggy accepted the award on his behalf.

The event also gave tribute to the 13 Gold Star Families who lost someone in the Aug. 26 deadly suicide bombing outside the Kabul Airport as the U.S. military was attempting to exit Afghanistan.

The Patriot Awards were hosted by Fox News opinion stars (and Fox Nation regulars) Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, all three co-hosts of “Fox & Friends,” Nancy Grace, Geraldo Rivera and country music stars John Rich, Heath Sanders and Tyler Farr.

Fox Nation SVOD service launched in 2018, priced at $5.99 monthly, $64.99 for one year, and $99 for two years.

Fox Nation to Stream 20th Anniversary 9/11 Tributes

Subscription streaming platform Fox Nation is set to launch several new programs to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York’s Twin Towers, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and downing of a commercial aircraft in rural Pennsylvania that killed more than 3,000 people.

On Friday, Sept. 10, and continuing through Saturday, Sept. 11, network personalities and correspondents will be live from various locations in New York City and Washington, D.C. Throughout the week leading up to the monumental anniversary, Fox News Channel will present themed packages and guest interviews to honor those who lost their lives.

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In addition to streaming the one-hour Fox News Channel special “Lost Calls of 9/11,” Fox Nation will feature “I Can Hear You: President Bush at Ground Zero,” hosted by Martha MacCallum Sept. 10. The program focuses on Bush’s visit to Ground Zero days after the terrorist attacks. Bush, who had held office for less than eight months prior to the attacks, visited New York City and stood atop Ground Zero’s rubble, delivering an impromptu speech that would comfort and help unite America.

Additionally, “Countdown Bin Laden,” presented by “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace will be available Sept. 12. The program tells the story of Aug. 27, 2010, when three CIA officers met with director Leon Panetta about a courier with deep Al Qaeda ties, and a connection to a mysterious three-story compound at the end of a dead-end street in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The compound housed AlQaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and Wallace takes viewers through the 247-day countdown from that meeting until Bin Laden is killed. An encore presentation will air on FNC later that night at 10 p.m. ET.

Fox News International Streaming Video Service Expanding to 30 Countries

Fox News Media’s international streaming platform Fox News International is expanding operations in Chile, Panama and Portugal on Dec. 17. That brings the total number of countries with access to the news service to 30, surpassing Fox News Media’s original goal of reaching 20 countries by year’s end.

Subscribers to the platform, which launched in Mexico in August, have access to live feeds of Fox News Channel and Fox Business, plus a catalog of 20 on-demand programs. The service is available via iOS, Android, Apple TV and Android TV in all 30 countries; the service is also accessible through Amazon Fire TV.

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In the week surrounding the presidential election, the platform notched a record in total app downloads and iOS trials. According to Sensor Tower, Fox News International was listed among the top news apps on the Apple app store across Europe during the week of Nov. 2, including the U.K., Germany, Ireland, Finland, Czech Republic, Spain and the Netherlands.

A separate ad-supported streaming platform, Fox Weather, will launch in 2021 as parent Fox Corp. begins transitioning business from broadcast and pay-TV to over-the-top video distribution.

Fox News Launching International Streaming Service

Fox News Media Aug. 11 announced the launch of Fox News International, a new live digital streaming service of linear networks Fox News and Fox Business for international users. Priced at $6.99 per month, the direct-to-consumer service will debut in Mexico Aug. 20 followed by Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom Sept. 17 and reaching 20 countries by the end of the year.

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“With a catalog of more than 20 programs on-demand and live streams of our linear networks, this new digital streaming service will ensure our viewers around the world never miss out on the latest [news],” Suzanne Scott, CEO of Fox News Media, said in a statement.

Fox News International will be available through mobile and OTT devices, launching on iPhone, Android, Apple TV and Android TV, with Amazon Fire TV and Roku expected shortly thereafter.

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Fox News, which remains the most-watched news network on pay-TV, features a mix of news and opinion-based political shows such as “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “Hannity,” “The Ingraham Angle,” “Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream,” “The Five,” “Outnumbered,” “Special Report With Bret Baier,” “The Story with Martha MacCallum,” “Outnumbered,” “Watters’ World,” “The Greg Gutfeld Show,” “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” “The Journal Editorial Report,” “MediaBuzz,” “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo,” “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace,” “The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton,” “Life Liberty and Levin,” “Maria Bartiromo’s Wall Street” and “Lou Dobbs Tonight.”

CNN, Fox News Continue Monthly Digital Viewership Battle

With President Trump regularly politicizing news coverage on CNN and Fox News (and other media outlets), both media companies have gone on the offense touting monthly digital viewership and market penetration.

CNN June 16 proclaimed it had “172 million U.S. Unique Visitors in May,” or 64% of the domestic Internet population, according to Comscore.

Fox News Digital said it finished May tracking double-digit increases versus the prior year across several performance indicators, including multiplatform views (up 17% from May 2019) and multiplatform unique visitors (up 12% increase).

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It claimed a sixth consecutive month with more than 100 million multiplatform unique visitors, adding that its Fox News Mobile App finished ahead of the CNN Mobile App for the 18th month in a row in unique visitors (8.5 million vs. CNN’s 7 million), and its third month scoring over 8 million unique visitors.

CNN countered that CNN.com had 151 Million mobile unique visitors in May compared with 94 million for FoxNews.com. The WarnerMedia property had 668 Million multiplatform video starts in April compared with 379 million for Fox.

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Among millennials (between the ages of 18-34), CNN touted 46 million unique multiplatform visitors compared with 21 million for Fox. For political coverage, CNN reported 74 million multiplatform unique visitors in May compared with 29.7 million unique visitors for Fox News Politics.

Meanwhile, Fox said its online coronavirus landing page was the top category page on the site in terms of page views and visitors spent five times longer on Fox News Digital’s coronavirus landing page than CNN’s live blog, according to data from SimilarWeb.

Anti-First Amendment Lawsuit Against Fox News Thrown Out of Court

A Washington state judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a left-wing activist group claiming Fox News isn’t entitled to First Amendment protections on coverage with which the group disagrees.

A group known as the Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics (WASHLITE) filed suit in April claiming Fox News opinion hosts were spreading misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, and sought an injunction of coverage under Washington’s Consumer Protection Act.

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Fox News filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that there is a distinction in its coverage between its news division, which emphasized the coronavirus threat, and the opinions of its commentators, who were expressing recommendations for policy. In either case, the network argued it was protected by the First Amendment’s rights to free speech and a free press.

WASHLITE countered that First Amendment protections didn’t extend to Fox News because they were a cable channel and not a newspaper, and that the editorial freedoms they were claiming were actually enjoyed by cable providers such as Comcast or Spectrum that carried the channel (WASHLITE’s amended case against Fox News dropped cable carriers as parties to the action).

The Internet and Television Association, which represents cable programmers and distributors, filed an amicus brief in support of Fox News in the case.

As part of its motion, Fox News listed numerous instances of other press outlets downplaying the significance of COVID-19 as it began to spread out of China in December, January and February, though none of the other outlets were targeted by WASHLITE. Fox News frequently draws the ire of left-wing activists for providing a larger degree of conservative access to its coverage than other news outlets.

Following a hearing May 21, Superior Court Judge Brian McDonald May 27 granted Fox News’ motion to dismiss, citing that the First Amendment protections afforded to cable news channels as press outlets are clearly established and that WASHLITE’s claims were baseless.

“Using a false portrayal of Fox News Channel’s commentary, WASHLITE attempted to silence a national news organization to settle a partisan grievance. This was not only wrong, but contemptuous of the foundation of free speech and we are both pleased the court dismissed this frivolous case and grateful to the First Amendment community that rallied to our side,” Fox News stated following the dismissal.

WASHLITE has vowed to appeal.

Fox News Digital Eyes Double-Digit Viewing Increase in April

Fox News Digital said it finished the month of April with double-digit viewership increases, including multiplatform views (up 26% from April 2019), multiplatform minutes (19%) and multiplatform unique visitors (20%).

Fox attributed the increase to viewer interest in the coronavirus pandemic.

The network, citing ComScore data, also reported new highs in multiplatform unique visitors (121.5 million), total multiplatform views (1.9 billion) and total multiplatform minutes (4.5 billion minutes). This April marked the second-highest month of multiplatform unique visitors, coming only behind March 2020, as well as notched the network’s fifth consecutive month with over 100 million multiplatform unique visitors.

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Fox said its branded mobile news app topped CNN’s app in viewers with 8.7 million unique visitors compared to 7.3 million for CNN.

Multi-Platform Total Minutes
Fox News Digital – 4.5 billion (up 19%)
CNN.com – 5.4 billion (up 90%)

Multi-Platform Total Views
Fox News Digital – 1.97 billion (up 26%)
CNN.com – 2.93 billion (up 100%)

Multi-Platform Unique Visitors
FOX News Digital – 121.5 million (up 20%)
CNN.com – 165 million (up 33%)

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