• Carlson 'wants his freedom,' said a friend of the former Fox News host
  • Carlson's lawyer said that preventing his client from 'speaking to his audience is beyond preposterous'
  • The ousted Fox News host has received job offers from Russian state TV and Mike Lindell

Ousted Fox News host Tucker Carlson is reportedly considering setting up his own media outlet as he seeks to free himself from his contract with the media company, sources close to the political commentator revealed.

Carlson is contemplating a direct-to-consumer media outlet where his supporters can pay to watch him, the media man's confidants told Axios on Sunday. "His team is preparing for war. He wants his freedom," a friend of Carlson told the outlet. "Now, we're going from peacetime to Defcon 1."

Defcon, or Defense Readiness Condition, measures the level of readiness of U.S. military personnel for a potential nuclear attack. Defcon 1 is the highest level of readiness in the ranks and is observed when an attack is either imminent or underway.

The ultimate goal is to make Fox let him continue his commentator work at the outlet or free him from his contract so he can either work for a rival right-wing outlet or build his own show, sources said.

The friend of Carlson also told the outlet that some people close to the former host have asked Carlson if he wants them to "hit Fox," but the commentator told them he wants the matter to be concluded, "quiet and clean."

A source close to Carlson who wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the matter told Axios that the fired host "knows where a lot of bodies are buried, and is ready to start drawing a map."

The outlet wrote that Carlson was busy "plotting a media empire of his own" but he has to get out of his Fox contract, which isn't due to expire until January 2025. Carlson's lawyer, Bryan Freedman, told Axios that preventing the ousted host from "speaking to his audience is beyond preposterous."

Carlson's legal counsel has reportedly been trying to negotiate with Fox regarding his contract as the ousted host wants to get back on air somewhere as soon as possible, three people with knowledge of the matter told the New York Times.

The outlet noted that in the case of Carlson and his Fox contract, getting back on air before the contract's expiry is uncertain as the agreement contains language – known as "pay or play" – that prohibits its big hosts from working with rivals.

Andy Lee, an entertainment lawyer with Foley & Lardner, told the Times that while contract provisions can be legally challenged, "networks and studios certainly view them as being relatively ironclad." Lee is not part of the negotiations between Fox and Carlson.

Fox News said late last month that it agreed to part ways with Carlson after the media giant settled a defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems for more than $787 million.

"We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor," Fox News said in a statement at the time.

Dominion alleged that Carlson's statements made on his Fox show "Tucker Carlson Tonight" after the 2020 presidential election were defamatory. The ballot-counting company said communication between Carlson and his team was evidential of their knowledge that claims about Dominion's machines being used to manipulate election results in Joe Biden's favor were untrue.

Meanwhile, Carlson has been receiving job offers from several personalities, including Russian host on state TV Vladimir Solovyov.

"We'll happily offer you a job if you wish to carry on as a presenter and host! You are always welcome in Russia and Moscow, we wish you the best of luck," Solvyov said.

Carlson has also reportedly had a conversation with Twitter CEO Elon Musk about possibly working together but specifics were not discussed, as per Axios.

Political activist Mike Lindell also recently revealed that he has reached out to Carlson and former Fox News "Unfiltered" host Dan Bongino to join Lindell TV. "We would love to have them as part of our team," he said.

Carlson started hosting "Tucker Carlson Tonight" in 2016. The last episode was aired on April 21. He first joined Fox News in 2009 as a contributor and appeared on shows like "Fox and Friends." He also had stints as a substitute host of "Hannity."

Fox personality Tucker Carlson speaks at the 2017 Business Insider Ignition: Future of Media conference in New York
Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson photographed in 2017. Reuters