Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in National Harbor, Md. on March 7, 2014.
Photo by Susan Walsh/AP

Mike Huckabee quits TV show to explore 2016 run

Updated

After months of speculation, Mike Huckabee announced Saturday that he’s calling his TV show quits in order to explore the possibility of another presidential run.

The final show of Huckabee aired Saturday at 8 pm ET on Fox News. The former preacher and Arkansas governor took up hosting the weekend cable show in 2008 after dropping his campaign for the Republican nomination. The program has featured some of the most prominent voices in the Republican Party, in addition to many celebrity guests, including first lady Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep and Bono.

The conservative Republican explained his decision in a Facebook post. “There has been a great deal of speculation as to whether I would run for President. I won’t make a decision about running until late in the spring of 2015, but the continued chatter has put Fox News into a position that is not fair to them,” he wrote. “The honorable thing to do at this point is to end my tenure here at Fox so I can openly talk with potential donors and supporters and gauge support.” 

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Mike Huckabee ponders 2016 bid

Mike Huckabee is making a big move toward a presidential campaign, ending his run on his Fox News show to pursue a potential White House campaign. The Washington Post’s Elahe Izadi, David Avella of GOPAC and The Daily Beast’s Eleanor Clift join to discuss

He continued, “As much as I have loved doing the show, I love my country more, and feel that it may be time for me to leave a zone of comfort to engage in the conflicts that have almost destroyed the bedrock foundations of America.”

Huckabee very publicly toyed with jumping in the race for the White House during the 2012 election cycle, but opted not to run.

Fox News execs have made it clear hosts cannot pursue a presidential run and be a paid employee. The same rule applied to fellow conservatives Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. In 2011, Fox News suspended their contributors’ contracts when they decided to make a bid for office.

In a statement to the blog TVNewser, an FNC spokesperson confirmed the news, saying it was an amicable split and best for both parties’ interests.

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee quits TV show to explore 2016 run

Updated