Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) will announce Saturday whether he will form a presidential exploratory committee, the first formal step toward running for president. 

Huckabee will make his intentions public on his eponymous Fox News program, which airs at 8 p.m., according to executive producer Woody Fraser.


“Governor Huckabee will announce tomorrow night on his program whether or not he intends to explore a presidential bid," Fraser said in a statement. "He has not told anyone at Fox News Channel his decision."

Political observers and other candidates have long awaited Huckabee's decision because he is at or near the top of many polls tracking the field of potential GOP presidential candidates. 

Huckabee's political team has long been mum about his intentions and did not say how he will decide, but his political action committee heavily promoted his appearances on Fox News this weekend. 

Some current and former aides have sounded pessimistic about the chances that Huckabee runs, but he downplayed that speculation during an interview with Fox News on Friday. 

Huckabee said he only started informing his family members of his decision on Friday and indicated he hasn't told many of his political advisers.

Some people may,."think they know all about it and they don't," he said.

Huckabee could have a significant impact on the field. He won the 2008 Iowa caucuses and finished second overall in the race for the nomination, behind Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainVirginia race looms as dark cloud over Biden's agenda  Sinema's no Manchin, no McCain and no maverick Progressives say go big and make life hard for GOP MORE (R-Ariz.).

Should he enter the race, Huckabee would have to give up his television show and other media entities he formed over the past three years. 

Because of legal conflicts of interest, Fox News suspended two other paid contributors, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), in the lead-up to their presidential announcements.

Santorum later questioned why Huckabee was not suspended as well and observers have questioned the legal ramifications should Huckabee announce an exploratory committee on his television show.

-- This post was updated at 4:47 p.m.