After four timeslot switches, a name change, two years of lackluster ratings, and one discarded bow-tie, Tucker Carlson's show on MSNBC drew to a close tonight after it was announced earlier this week that it would be replaced by an election-themed show hosted by NBC Senior White House Correspondent David Gregory. "Tucker," which was formerly known as "The Situation with Tucker Carlson" signed off with a minimum of fanfare, engaging the headlines of the day as per usual (Obama's Jeremiah Wright problem; McCain's travel abroad; who's more electable, Clinton or Obama?) and managing not to mention auto-erotic asphyxiation even once. Other than a quick mention at the top (and a chyron reading: "Welcome To Our Final Show! We've Truly Saved The Best For Last"), it was largely business as usual — except that it wasn't, and his guests let him know it.
Two rather notable aw-shucks moments stood out, courtesy of regular guest Lanny Davis and former show producer-cum-"Morning Joe" co-host Willie Geist. Davis came on to argue strenuously in favor of Hillary Clinton, as is his wont, and at the end Davis surprised Tucker with a heartfelt tribute, saying that he thought it was "unfortunate that this network has stopped this program because, for me, being able to disagree agreeably is what you stand for. I think it's a great loss for all of us." Aw. Watch:
Is it us, or did Tucker look as ferklempt as Hillary Clinton at a New Hampshire Q&A? He recovered nicely (commercial breaks help with that), and after welcoming (and receiving kudos from) the Rev. Al Sharpton, The Hill's A.B. Stoddard, the LAT's Rosa Brooks, and "Washington D.C. Mayor for Life Marion Barry ("Why? Because frankly we kind of like Marion Barry"), he was ready to head into the final segment of the show, which really was meant to be a look-back. Here he welcomed Geist, joining him from New York, for a quick trip through some of the show's greatest hits from timeslots gone bye — but not before he gave Tucker a heartfelt tribute of his own:
Suffice it to say that I wouldn't be on this show, the 6 a.m. show or any show without you, your friendship and your advocacy... If you had told me three years ago that I'd be sitting in the front row of 'Dancing With The Stars' with a vested interest, angry with the results — without irony — I would have called you a fool, but that actually happened. Hang around Tucker Carlson enough, your life will be fun, I promise you that.
Aw. Man-love is sweet. Then they went on to watch clips of animals doing funny stuff. We'll show you that clip in a moment — enjoy a long-lost flash of bow-tie! (He lost it ages ago, AP writer, sheesh) — but before you get all sad, remember that Tucker really isn't going anywhere, because he'll still be a senior MSNBC correspondent popping up across the schedule, ostensibly including in his former timeslot. (Which is why Willie Geist said "I'll see you next week.") Stil, it was an ending, and the last word was Tucker, who gave a special shout-out to Senior Producer Jamieson Lesko and Producer Alexis Vena before signing off with brevity and class: "Well that's it! That's the end of our show. We won't be joining you on Monday. We'd like to thank you for tuning in all these years and to say that, if nothing else, I've sincerely enjoyed it.... Goodnight, and have a great weekend." You too, Tucker! See you on the other side.