5:30am PT by Andy Lewis
Tucker Carlson Book Could Fetch $15 Million
Fox News host Tucker Carlson, whose first broadcast as the replacement for Bill O’Reilly at 8 p.m. aired April 24, is attracting a flurry of attention for his proposed book, for which bids have hit eight figures.
A publishing source told The Hollywood Reporter that Carlson has made the rounds of about a dozen publishers to talk about the proposal, which has generated enthusiastic responses. The winning offer could reach $15 million. Carlson is represented by Matt Latimer and Keith Urbahn at Javelin, a D.C.-based literary agency.
Latimer told Buzzfeed, which first reported that Carlson was shopping a book, “Tucker’s is easily the most sought-after book by a news personality in many years, and he’s on track to get one of the biggest and certainly most well deserved deals in recent history.”
Carlson is breathing rare air. A $12 million to $15 million offer puts him more in the company of former presidents and first ladies than television personalities. While the Obamas established a new benchmark with a joint deal for books from both the former president and former first lady of $60 million to $65 million, Bill Clinton got over $10 million for his post-presidential memoir and Hillary Clinton got $14 million for her first book after being secretary of state. The biggest advance for a television personality in recent years went to Carlson’s former Fox News colleague Megyn Kelly, who got a high- seven-figure advance for Settle for More, which came out in 2016.
Carlson’s proposed book is said to be current events-oriented, provocative and funny. The host’s humor and wit are considered one of the pitch’s strongest selling points.
While the deal would technically be for one or two books, publishers see a potential franchise in Carlson and view the deal as the start of a long-term relationship, not a one-off project.
Carlson is in an enviable position. His Fox show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, debuted to strong numbers, holding even with O’Reilly in the key demo of adults 25-54 (while trailing him slightly in overall numbers). Publishers are hoping that like O’Reilly, Carlson will translate that TV audience into book sales. O’Reilly was probably the best-selling nonfiction author of the last decade, so if Carlson’s book sales come close to O’Reilly’s, it will be a big one for the publisher who signs him.
Carlson also has the advantage of having started out as a print journalist; he has written for Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic and other magazines. He has written one other book, a 2003 memoir, Politicians, Partisans and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News.