Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has said to expect a “very important announcement” on Saturday (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is expected to announce whether or not he will run for president on his Fox News Channel show Saturday evening, a major moment in the nascent 2012 contest.

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

While Huckabee’s Saturday show is always taped, his announcement about 2012 will run live, according to an informed source.

For his part, Huckabee said Friday that he would make a “very important announcement”. Neither he nor Hogan Gidley, the executive director of the former governor’s political action committee, would expand on just what the announcement would be.

“We'll have an interesting show. I'll be announcing to the Fox viewers what my intentions are,” Huckabee told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto this afternoon. “We’ll find out... what I’m going to do.” He said only his family members know his plans.

Others in Huckabee’s broader political orbit suggested that the planned announcement didn’t bode well for those who want him to run — even as they noted that what he would actually say was a closely guarded secret.

“I cannot imagine it’s an, ‘I’m running for president’ announcement,”said former South Carolina governor David Beasley, a prominent Huckabee supporter in 2008. “I hope I’m wrong. But I don’t think so.”

Added Ed Rollins, who managed Huckabee’s 2008 campaign, of the planned Saturday night announcement: “That is a pretty strong indication its a no-go.”

Huckabee has kept the political world waiting about his future for the better part of the last two years.

A break-out star in the 2008 race thanks to his sense of humor and social conservative bona fides, polling both nationally and in Iowa — a critical early-voting state — suggests that Huckabee retains considerable good will and would be a formidable force if he decided to run again.

Huckabee himself, however, has been far more ambivalent about the race. “I’m not one who thinks the future of the world is depending on whether I run for president,” Huckabee told the Post’s Karen Tumulty in a February sitdown in New York City.

Much of that indecision is likely due to the success Huckabee has enjoyed in the private sector since leaving the 2008 presidential race.

Once a little known Arkansas governor — his claim to fame was that he and former President Bill Clinton hailed from the same hometown — Huckabee has become a conservative celebrity. He has a syndicated radio show, an hour-long show on Fox News Channel every Saturday and is a hot commodity on the speaking circuit.

While Huckabee has enjoyed the fruits of life outside of elected office, he has done little to make improvements on a somewhat rickety political machine that was unable to capi­tal­ize on his surprising Iowa caucus win in 2008.

Fundraising for Huck PAC lagged that of potential 2012 rivals like former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. Former aides began taking other jobs or signing on with other presidential campaigns.And yet, through it all, Huckabee has remained sphinx-like about his intentions.

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