Breaking: Mike Huckabee’s final “Huckabee” will air tonight, TVNewser has learned. Huckabee will announce on his show that he is parting ways with Fox News as he explores the possibility of a presidential run. The show was taped at Fox News studios in Manhattan this evening and will air tonight at 8pmET.
Huckabee began hosting his weekend show in Sept., 2008, months after he dropped out the race for the 2008 GOP nomination. In 2011, the former Arkansas governor teased on the May 14 episode of “Huckabee” that he would make a big announcement. At the time it was thought Huckabee would jump into the 2012 presidential race. Instead, the announcement was that he would be staying with Fox News.
Fox News executives have made it clear, that any host or contributor who is eyeing a presidential run would have to step aside from the network. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were both contributors when, in March 2011, Fox News suspended their contracts as they sought the GOP presidential nomination.
“Huckabee” is often the most-watched show on Fox News on the weekends.
An FNC spokesperson confirmed the network has amicably parted ways with Huckabee as it was in the best of both of their interests.
More: In his sign-off Huckabee said, “There’s been a great deal of speculation as to whether I would run for president and if I were absolutely ready to rule that out, I could keep doing this show. I’m not going to make a decision about running until late in the spring of 2015… The honorable thing to do at this point is to end my tenure here at Fox.”
Full text after the jump…
Tonight I’m going to do more than just say good night. I’m going to say good-bye. This is the last edition of “Huckabee” on the Fox News Channel. Now for the past six and a half years I’ve felt honored to come into your home each week and bring a variety of news, politics, entertainment, music and great stories of amazing people. It has been the ride of a lifetime. And I’ve never had so much fun in my life. I’ve met people I never dreamed I’d meet, and I played music with legends in the music business. but i also realize that god hasn’t put me on earth just to have a good time or to make a good living. But rather, God has put me on earth to try to make a good life. There’s been a great deal of speculation as to whether I would run for president and if I were to absolutely ready to rule that out, I could keep doing this show. Now, I’m not going to make a decision about running until late in the spring of 2015. But the continued chatter had put Fox News into a position that just isn’t fair to them, nor is it possible for me to openly determine political and financial support to justify a race. The honorable thing to do at this point is to end my tenure here at Fox. Now, as much as I have loved doing the show, I cannot bring myself to rule out another presidential run. To be clear, I’m not making that announcement right now and my timetable is still just what it was before, later this spring. But I agree with Fox that this is the right thing and now is the right time. Harder than walking away from a generous paycheck from Fox is leaving some of the most incredible people I’ve ever worked with.
As I say in my soon to be released book, “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy”, the CEO of the Fox News Channel really is the smartest guy in the room. And it doesn’t matter who else is in the room, Roger Ailes understands that the success of an organization is that people in the organization feel bonded by a common goal, and that each member of the team builds each other up. Now the critics of Fox News will never understand that. But being here has given me the opportunity to serve with not only the most professional people of the business but without a doubt the nicest people in the business. From our extraordinary production crew who run cameras, work audio and lighting, manage the stage, direct the show and edit it, to the people who work in the makeup room or the custodial staff, there is truly an enviable camaraderie in the Fox family. A special heartfelt word of thanks to my show staff who each week work their hearts out to help put together what has within the highest rated weekend show on the network etch week since we launched. They deserve far more credit than me for the show’s success. I love every one of them. And I consider myself to be blessed beyond description to have worked with them every week. Now I’m not going to disappear and I’ll probably make guest appearances on Fox — I hope so — but no longer as a member of the staff. I’ll keep you updated on my what whereabouts on my website as well as my Facebook page. But I want to thank Roger Ailes for the last six and a half years of support and thanks to you for your loyal viewership of this show. You trusted me each week and I tried to never violate that trust. And I hope I never will. So that’s it for the “Huckabee” show. I say good-bye, but as we say in television, stay tuned. There’s more to come. Good night.