The Fox News Channel's post-Roger Ailes era has officially begun. On Friday, acting executive chairman and owner Rupert Murdoch named two new co-presidents of the cable news channel: current executive VP Bill Shine and Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy.
The picks suggest a couple things: perhaps most importantly, both men are now out of the race to assume the more powerful and central role of chairman or CEO.
Shine, until now senior executive vice president, is the old guard. He's a longtime lieutenant of Roger Ailes and is currently accused of enabling the alleged sexual abuse under the old regime. The fact that Murdoch is willing to promote him indicates some confidence in keeping the Ailes bloc on board for the near future.
"If they put Bill Shine in charge, if he can escape the stigma, he's a pretty good mindmeld with Roger," said Joe Muto, a producer for "The O'Reilly Factor" for eight years who eventually became the "Fox News mole" for Gawker.com.
Shine will handle talent and programming, signaling that the look and feel of Fox News is not about to change. "It seems like for the time being it's still going to be courting a super conservative audience," Muto said.
First thoughts on Fox News leadership announcement: this is Ailes's existing management team
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) August 12, 2016
Abernethy comes from the less dramatic and political corner of the empire, Fox's network of local stations. He'll oversee more of the business end.
The unification of Fox's cable wing and local news wing in one co-presidency, not to mention Rupert Murdoch's continued presence on the larger throne, suggests the hunt for a true replacement goes on.
And yet Shine was Ailes' top deputy and a like-minded thinker. "If they put Bill Shine in charge, if he can escape the stigma, he's a pretty good mindmeld with Roger," said Joe Muto, "It seems like for the time being it's still going to be courting a super conservative audience."
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