There is no question of Tucker Carlson’s popularity as a news host.
For all of 2022, Carlson averaged 3.03 million viewers, second only to Fox’s ‘The Five’ as the most popular program on cable television.
Carlson had 2.65 million viewers on Friday for what he didn’t know at the time would be his last show on Fox.
The ousted host’s two-minute monologue he shared on Twitter Thursday night, has been viewed 70 million times, according to the social media site.
But Tucker is not just popular with Americans seeking truth in the news. Just hours after he was fired by Fox News, the conservative firebrand’s phone lit up with well-wishes from locals in the quaint Maine town where he spends most of his summers.
Residents of the small rural town of Woodstock rush to describe Carlson as a good neighbor and were ready to support him in his latest battle.
“More time for fishing?” his carpenter Patrick Fenney said in a text message to Carlson at lunchtime Monday, shortly after the news broke.
An hour later, Tucker, at home with his wife in Florida, phoned him back. “He called me back at 1 and said he found out about it a half hour before I did,” Fenney told DailyMail.com Tuesday, standing inside Carlson’s satellite TV studio that the local helped him build in an old barn downtown.
“He told me it started out as a normal day. He got up, wrote the show, and then he got the phone calling saying it was all over and that they were going to announce it.” Fenney added, “He was pretty shocked. He asked them why and they wouldn’t give him a reason.” But Carlson seemed nonplussed. “He was not upset at all,” Fenney told DailyMail.com. “He said that maybe he’d fish a little more this summer.”
It was the sort of humble banter Carlson is known for locally in the town with just 1.350 residents. In 2019, he wrote the town a letter stating his desire to retire there someday.
He’s a regular around town during the summer, working out of his studio on Main Street, taking breaks to chat with neighbors and sometimes greet fans who travel from out of state to meet their TV hero. He even has a plot at the local cemetery beside a 19th century universalist church, according to the regional Sun Journal.
Locals say Carlson fits right into the hardworking community, where residents don’t pay much attention to the news, Daily News noted in interviews with the townsfolk.
Susan Hatstat, 37, who works at a convenience store where Carlson frequently stops by told Daily Mail, “He’s actually just a really good guy, always super polite. He’s normal when he’s here, nice to everybody. He doesn’t act like a celebrity. He comes here, grabs snacks, gets treats for his dogs. I like him, and his family’s really nice,” she added. “His brother Buckley’s always here, and his nephew. Tucker’s been coming up here his whole life.’
Carlson has been noted for hiring several locals for his show. Hatstat’s brother, a chef who works at the nearby Sunday River ski mountain, cooks for Carlson and “all his celebrity friends,” she revealed, adding: “And my brother’s wife does Tucker’s hair and makeup.”
Neil Olsen, a 75-year-old animal trapper in the area, said over time he has become close with Carlson, who’s joined him on some of his excursions trapping foxes and coyotes. ‘He is one of the most down to earth people I’ve ever met who was so-called famous,” Olsen told DailyMail.com. “I’m a layman, let’s just say. I’m a nobody, and I’m out there doing some fishing and trapping, and Tucker’s spending time with me,” Olsen said. “And I could just tell, he just wants to be a down to earth person. I haven’t met anyone who’s been around this guy that didn’t like him.”
He recalls one conversation they had about religion, which started with Olsen remarking about how all fishing lures boast they’re the best on the market. Olsen likened it to religion. “So I said to Tucker, there are like eight different religions, and everybody thinks theirs is the best, so seven of them have got to be wrong,” he recounted.
“And his quote to me was something I’m going to live by the rest of my life: He said, Neil, for me, in all religions, we all know that there’s something special out there, and for him it’s God. I just thought that was a great answer.”
Speaking to DailyMail.com, Olsen said: “I think they’re going to regret the decision.” But like others in town, he took the news in stride, and had no real concerns for Carlson’s future.
Fenney said the only real question now is what Carlson will choose to do next. “I can’t imagine he’s going to be hurting for things to do,” he said. “He’s a tough man, he’ll survive it. He the hardest working man I know.”