Change is coming to HBO, now that it is part of the AT&T corporate family. John Tankey is a longtime AT&T executive who now oversees HBO in his new role as chief executive of Warner Media. He told employees that HBO would have to become more like a streaming giant to thrive in the new media landscape. Stankey described a future in which HBO would substantially increase its subscriber base and the number of hours that viewers spend watching its shows.
ABC abruptly canceled “Roseanne” hours after Roseanne Barr, the show’s star and co-creator, posted a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, an African-American woman who was a senior adviser to Barack Obama throughout his presidency and considered one of his most influential aides. Barr wrote if the “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj." Barr later apologized, but it was too late.
The parent company of Fox News said that it had settled a lawsuit with its former anchor Gretchen Carlson, who said that Roger Ailes had sexually harassed her when he was chairman of the network. A 21st Century Fox Corporation news release did not specify a settlement amount, but a person briefed on the settlement said that it amounted to $20 million, and that Ailes was responsible for a portion of the payment. The person also said Fox News was in settlement talks with other women at the network. The company apologized for the behavior, saying, “We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve.”
Roger Ailes stepped down July 21 as chairman and chief executive of Fox News, ending a 20-year reign as head of the cable network he built into a ratings juggernaut and an influential platform for Republican politics. Rupert Murdoch, the 85-year-old media mogul who started Fox News with Ailes, will assume the role of chairman and will be an interim chief executive of Fox News channel and Fox Business Network until a permanent replacement for Ailes is found.
Ailes will receive about $40 million as part of a settlement agreement, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. As part of the agreement, Ailes cannot start a competitor to Fox News. He will continue to make himself available as an adviser to Murdoch on an interim basis, the person said, though he will not be directly involved with Fox News or its owner, 21st Century Fox. In a statement, Murdoch praised Ailes, 76, and his “remarkable contribution” to the company, without making mention of the sexual harassment scandal that felled him.
Will Fox News’s prime-time lineup remain intact? Will the network’s ratings fall back to earth after this wild presidential election? Who could possibly replace Roger Ailes?
Breathless, yes, but Fox News’s seemingly unassailable position as the most powerful cable news channel was rocked this week by the news that Ailes, the only leader the network has ever known, was negotiating his exit as chairman after accusations of sexual harassment. No matter how unseemly his departure, Ailes will leave Fox News in strong shape. Thanks to an election year that has been a boon for all cable news channels, the network has never had higher ratings. And on July 20, as confusion swirled about the leadership of the network, many financial analysts told investors that the huge profits it delivers for 21st Century Fox were in no danger of suddenly disappearing.
Roger Ailes’s tenure as the head of Fox News appears to be over. Ailes and 21st Century Fox, Fox News’s parent company, are in the advanced stages of discussions that would lead to his departure as chairman, said Susan Estrich, one of Ailes’s lawyers. The development follows a sexual harassment suit filed on July 6 against Ailes by a former anchor, Gretchen Carlson. The suit prompted 21st Century Fox to conduct an internal review and it set off an intense round of speculation in the news media and the television industry about Ailes’s future at Fox News.
On July 19, the sides were negotiating terms that could include Ailes’s staying on in a consulting role for Fox News. Estrich said nothing had been finalized about what sort of continuing role he could have at the network. “Roger is at work,” 21st Century Fox said. “The review is ongoing. And the only agreement that is in place is his existing employment agreement.” Ailes’s exit would be a humbling and startlingly sudden fall from power for a man who started Fox News from scratch 20 years ago and built it into a top-rated cable news network and a critical profit center for 21st Century Fox. Along the way, Ailes, a former Republican operative, established Fox News as the leading media platform for conservative politics. He also minted prime-time stars like Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Susteren.