Gretchen Carlson Guest Hosts Third Hour of Today

By A.J. Katz 

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson returned to TV news this morning as a guest host on Today. She joined Al Roker and Sheinelle Jones during the program’s third hour, and talked about her New Year’s Eve weekend (she was in Hawaii) during Today’s Take. The segment also provided a look back at some of Carlson’s accomplishments from years ago, including her longtime passion for playing the violin and how she actually performed during the 1989 Miss America pageant. She also recalled tales from her hometown of Anoka, Minnesota, which is considered “The Halloween Capital of the World.”

“Apparently back in the ’40s and ’50s, kids used to go out and cause trouble on the eve of Halloween,” Carlson explained. “My town was the first to put together family programs so that families could come together and kids could stay out of trouble. It was deemed ‘The Halloween Capital of the World’ I believe by Congress. There’s an emblem outside of our city hall, and we have a huge parade. It really was fun to grow up there.”

This was Carlson’s first time co-hosting a morning news program since she was let go by Fox News last July after 11 years at the network and 7 years co-hosting Fox & Friends. She decided to file a sexual harassment lawsuit last summer against co-founder and chairman Roger Ailes over her firing, a story which made national headlines. Ailes would eventually be let go from the network, and Carlson ended up receiving a settlement of $20 million from 21st Century Fox and a public apology from the company in September.

Carlson has remained off air ever since, with the exception being a sit down interview with ABC’s Amy Robach in November of last year, where she spoke about incidents of sexual harassment she experienced early on in her career, and “the need to create a safer environment for women to report harassment.”

When asked by Roker what Carlson is looking forward to in 2017, she said: “New beginnings. I’m a huge believer in being optimistic and starting over and getting a fresh start. One of the things I want to do is to give back, and I’m setting up a fund to empower women and young girls that I will be contributing to,” said Carlson.

She also mentioned that she’ll be a marquee columnist for Time Magazine’s “Motto” website, which according to Carlson, reaches 37 million people online. She will be writing monthly articles about empowering women. Her first will come out on January 16.

Carlson appeared on the October 31, 2016 cover of TIME. The cover story featured an exclusive interview on her mission to change the way women fight against sexual harassment. She will cover this topic among others in her Motto column.

Here’s Carlson talking about her New Year’s Eve: