TV veteran Geraldo Rivera says he’s quitting Fox News political fight show ‘The Five’

NEW YORK (AP) — Geraldo Rivera has stepped down as one of the lone liberal voices on Fox News’ popular political fight show “The Five,” saying Wednesday that “a growing tension that goes beyond editorial differences” was no longer worth it.

The final scheduled appearance on “The Five” for the television veteran, whose 80th birthday is July 4, will be next week.

“It’s been a tough journey, but it’s also been an exhilarating journey that spanned several years,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday. “I hope this isn’t my last adventure.”

Rivera said it was his choice to leave “The Five,” but Fox management “didn’t run after me to say, ‘Geraldo, please come back. “”There was no immediate comment from Fox.

Despite airing in the late afternoon instead of prime time, “The Five” has become Fox’s most-watched program, averaging more than 3 million viewers last year. His conceit is simple – five people, including four conservatives and one liberal – revolve around the issues of the day.

Greg Gutfeld, Jesse Watters, Dana Perino and Jeanine Pirro are the usual curators. Rivera toured as a liberal voice with Jessica Tarlov and Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman from Tennessee.

Rivera said he plans to stay on as a “free-roaming correspondent” at Fox, with a contract that expires in January 2025.

He said he had been suspended several times, most recently in early May. He tweeted shortly after Fox fired Tucker Carlson on April 24 that he found Carlson’s theories about the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising to be “bullshit,” prompting Gutfeld to tweet back. “You’re a Geraldo class act, a real people man.” Carlson had downplayed the Jan. 6 violence, calling the people who invaded the Capitol “tourists.”

Rivera and Gutfeld had a handful of particularly contentious exchanges. In late April, Rivera told her “stop pointing at me” when they argued about electric vehicles. He called Gutfeld a “cocky punk” on air last year during an abortion brawl.

Rivera would not comment directly on Gutfeld.

“There has been a growing tension that goes beyond editorial differences and personal annoyances and blame,” he said. “It’s not worth it for me.”

Rivera, a former friend of Donald Trump who parted ways with him over the former president’s false claims that he won the 2020 election, said that “under no circumstances do I think Donald Trump should to be President of the United States again and that is an important message that I am committed to bringing to the American people by November 2024.”

Although “The Five” and its large audience seemed like a prime place for him to deliver that message, he said “you can imagine the friction that role by definition” would cause.

“I’m 80 years old,” he says. “I don’t want friction. ‘The Five’ is too intimate a place and it gets too personal.

The electric vehicle argument illustrated the challenge facing the liberal voice on “The Five.” As he spoke, the on-screen chyrons below him read “Biden pushing expensive electric cars on Americans” and “Americans not buying Biden’s EV hype.”

Rivera had a colorful syndicated talk show that aired from 1987 to 1998, and hosted an evening news and interview show on CNBC in the late 1990s. He was brought to Fox shortly by then President Roger Ailes after September 2001 to first be a war correspondent and remained. On Wednesday, he regretted, in retrospect, not having left the network after the murder of Osama bin Laden in 2011.

He said his relationship with his colleagues from “The Five” is “a reflection of what the country is going through. … It’s not an easy job if you take it as personally as I do.

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