Fox Co-Presidents Sign Multiyear Contracts

September 15, 2016 11:23 am  

(Fox News) – Fox News already doubled down on its leadership team last month when it announced that Roger Ailes’s major deputies were being elevated into top positions at the network.

Now the network is going a step farther.

Fox News announced on Wednesday that the news network’s co-presidents, Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy, had signed multiyear contracts. It did not disclose the length of the contracts but, in a statement, the Fox News executive chairman Rupert Murdoch said the deals would ensure “stability and leadership to help guide the network for years to come.”

He also credited Mr. Shine and Mr. Abernethy for being “instrumental in Fox News’ continued dominance in the ratings and historic earnings performance.”

After Mr. Ailes was pushed out in July amid a sexual harassment scandal, there was some speculation that other Fox News executives could soon be ushered out, in an effort by the cable station’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, to clean house. The decision to promote Mr. Shine and Mr. Abernethy in mid-August quelled that talk, and the contract extension for both should quiet further speculation that they had been elevated on a temporary basis to help the network get through the presidential election.

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At an investor conference on Wednesday, Lachlan Murdoch, the chairman of 21st Century Fox, reiterated that the network, which Mr. Ailes helped found with Rupert Murdoch two decades ago, would not be altered in any fundamental way.

“It would be foolish of us if you think about the success of Fox News both in its positioning, and the voice that it has,” Lachlan Murdoch said, when asked if changes were coming. “And then you think about where our competitors sit, whether CNN or MSNBC or others, it would be foolish of us to copy a failed strategy as opposed to sticking with a winning strategy. I don’t foresee any changes at all in the positioning of Fox News or the voice it projects.”

Fox News is desperately trying to return to business as usual, especially since being rocked again last week when the longtime on-air anchor Greta Van Susteren left the network. That same day, 21st Century Fox gave $20 million to the former anchor Gretchen Carlson to settle the sexual harassment lawsuit she filed against Mr. Ailes in July, which started this summer’s drama.

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