There may be a huge vacuum left in cable news as Fox News reportedly may tap CNN’s Jeff Zucker to replace Roger Ailes, which would surely mark the end of the network’s run as the lone conservative voice on television.
Telecommunications giant AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner is pending and will result in a major shakeup of top level-execs. Top media reporter Michael Wolff put the theory out there about the changes that could come for Fox News in a column over at The Hollywood Reporter:
With Bewkes gone, his heir apparent, John Martin is likely to be out too, with the betting for the new Time Warner chief on Peter Chernin, the former News Corp COO who operates a small joint venture with AT&T, even though he has been out of big-company management for seven years. CNN’s Jeff Zucker who, having worked for GE when he ran NBC, might be considered a more logical bridge to AT&T and, if rebuffed, might likely be open to the Murdoch sons’ interest in having him come to run Fox News. (Such speculation has led people inside AT&T — having a moment of being blinded by the stars — to a suggestion of hiring former Fox chief Roger Ailes to run CNN and turning media as we know it inside out.)
In August, Wolff discussed the changes he believes Murdoch’s “globalist” sons have in store for the cable network in a column:
In part this reflects the Murdoch sons’ view of the future of 21st Century Fox as a modern, multiplatform content and distribution company, one without their father’s political stain. (With the Murdoch newspapers and their ideological views split off from 21st Century Fox in 2013 — partly at the urging of the Murdoch sons — that leaves only Fox News as a political presence in the company.)
And it reflects, after more than a decade in the doldrums, a resurgence of CNN under Zucker, who took the reins in 2012. Most of all though, it reflects a belief that there isn’t anybody with Ailes’ politics from inside or outside the network whom Lachlan and James — 44 and 43, respectively, youthful globalist moderates largely living in an anti-Fox world — could work with or even tolerate.
Even if Zucker doesn’t take the job (Wolff has reported that Zucker’s colleagues have said he won’t take it), he gets the top job at Time Warner, or for some reason isn’t offered the top job at Fox News, it’s likely that the once-conservative mainstay will look drastically different in the coming years.
Breitbart reported that Murdoch’s sons Lachlan and James want to change Fox News in the mold of Britain’s Sky News, which would eliminate the conservative political bent that not only made it what it is today, but also added a bit of balance to the massively biased media world.
Fox News became the media phenomena it is because it offered something viewers wanted — a counter balance to the liberal bias evidenced in mainstream media. Fox News has certainly changed as of late and it is noticeable.
If the Murdoch sons extend this reported “globalist” bent to Fox News and do away with the conservatism that put them where they are, there will be a huge vacuum created in cable news.