Tuesday, July 19, 2016


I had my doubts, but it really looks as if Roger Ailes will be out of a job soon:
Fox News CEO Roger Ailes is in talks with 21st Century Fox that will likely lead to his departure following allegations of sexual harassment.

However, contrary to some news reports on Tuesday, "there is no deal," Ailes' attorney Susan Estrich said.

"When there is an agreement, if there is an agreement, 21st Century Fox will make an announcement," Estrich said.

According to a source with direct knowledge of the conversations, the negotiations could conclude as early as Tuesday night, but may take longer.
I don't know what will happen then. Fox News is a moneymaker for Rupert Murdoch -- and it's still going strong:
On night one of the Republican National Convention, Fox News Channel was the clear ratings winner on TV, drawing substantially more viewers than any other TV network, including NBC, CBS and ABC.
Ailes is a smart TV guy. He knows what his audience wants and knows how to build brand loyalty. His channel's programming is raw sewage, but he keeps just enough of a check on it that the political and media elite regard it as a within-the pale property (whose success his competitors envy). It's not clear whether anyone else can maintain that toxic balance.
The biggest problem Fox News faces is that Ailes has no heir apparent. The television executives CNNMoney spoke with speculate that 21st Century Fox will bring in someone from Sky, its British broadcaster. But while Brits may be able to run American news organizations, these executives said, it is much more difficult for a Brit to manage an American political organization -- which is what Fox News is, these sources said....

It's hard to see how any replacement, even an American replacement, could fill those shoes. Within Fox News, one name that has come up as a possible replacement is Bill Shine, the Senior Executive Vice President of Programming, who oversees primetime. But while Shine has strong relationships with the network's top talent, industry insiders say 21st Century Fox doesn't believe he's up to the task of replacing Ailes.

Without strong and certain leadership, media executives believe, the network could lose its most high-profile talent.
Yes -- Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren have clauses in their contracts that say they can leave if Ailes does. So does Bill O'Reilly, who's talking about retiring. And Megyn Kelly's contract expires next year, though she might be happier to stay if Ailes leaves (she now says he sexually harassed her).

Rupert Murdoch has clearly given more control over Fox to his sons Lachlan and James. They're not conservative like their father. They might not want an Ailesian Fox News.

And yet the ratings are good, and rabid conservatism -- of a Trumpian variety, at least -- inspires a large chunk of the American public.

So what will happen?

I think Fox will gradually become less right-wing. I think Kelly will get the show she wants, and it won't look like anything on Fox now:
Kelly has also expressed ambitions for a more high-profile gig, something she's likened to a blend between Charlie Rose and Oprah.
And I suspect the old Fox audience will drift away, while a new audience might be slow to tune in.

Where will the hardcore Foxites go? I wonder if Donald Trump will really try to construct his own cable news channel, a plan Vanity Fair recently said he's been hatching.

Trump's pal Ailes might be free to run the channel. (My favorite part of this story: In dealing with Gretchen Carlson's harassment lawsuit and with Fox, "Ailes has ... received advice on strategy from Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani, sources say.")

But I can't imagine a TV channel run by Trump being anything but a hot mess, even if some people watch it. It will be sleazy and ridiculous and low-rent. And if Ailes wants to make it professional in ways Trump doesn't like, he'll be out of a job again. Also, Ailes is aging and frail -- he might not want the gig, assuming the channel ever materializes. And he might be constrained by a non-compete clause in any case.

So what will America be like if nothing with the poisonousness and reach of Fox is on the air?

I just can't imagine. But I can't wait to find out.


Victor said...

I can't wait to find out either!

Unfortunately, I'm not sure the damage Ailes and Fox did to this country can ever be truly undone.
At least not in my lifetime...

But, kicking Ailes out, is certainly a good start!

Unknown said...

Megyn Kelly was straw that broke Jabba The Huts back.The Murdoch kids have wanted Ailes out for long time. If they get everyone else in the Room to have to choose between a gorgeous, smart, ratings machine and Jabba The Hut who is 70+ years old and despised? Its no contest. Without Ailes fanning the hate machine President Hillary may have a better shot than Obama got.

sdhays said...

With Ailes gone, which network do you think Hannity goes to: CNN or MSNBC? Or does he become an anchor on ABC News?

Setting up a TV channel takes work and money. Donald Trump doesn't have the attention span to make his own crowning ceremony anything other than an embarrassing shit show and he's famously stingy with his money, so I'll believe TrumpTV when I see it. And at Ailes age and wealth, I assume he'll retire. There was already talk of him being sickly and leaving as early as next year. I just hope that Carlson (and others?) takes him to the cleaners so that he has to live more modestly in his waning years. I'll bet that's the sticking point in negotiations with Fox - he wants them to agree to cover any judgements against him for treating his female employees as his own personal harem. Hopefully they tell him to go f- himself, for a change.

Here's hoping that Fox moderates too much, then course corrects too much, and flails around hemorrhaging viewers for the next few years.

Ed Baptist said...

how does this state of affairs affect the common belief that Fox News is really the PR division of the RNC?