Archive for the FNC Category

Jeff Zucker at the TCA…

Posted in CNN, FNC on January 10, 2014 by icn2

Variety’s Brian Lowry writes about Jeff Zucker’s appearance at the TCA…

CNN chief Jeff Zucker fired back at Fox News Channel CEO Roger Ailes on Friday, saying his understanding is that an upcoming Ailes biography “confirms what we’ve known along, which is the Republican Party is being run out of News Corp. headquarters, masquerading as a cable channel.”

Speaking at the TV Critics Assn. tour Friday, Zucker made those remarks in response to an interview Ailes had given in which he said CNN is getting out of the news business. The CNN Worldwide president countered by saying the network remained committed to news but that his goal is to ”broaden the definition of offerings” on the network by including more series and documentary films, such as programs fronted by Morgan Spurlock and Anthony Bourdain, as well as the acclaimed documentary “Blackfish.”

Zucker dismissed Ailes’ criticism as “meant to deflect your attention from the book this week” and “silly.” Prior to the session, Zucker also told Variety that CNN would cover the Ailes book, “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” by Gabriel Sherman, calling it a legitimate news story given the implications of the role Fox News plays in relationship to the Republican Party and national politics.

Ugh…Zucker just painted a giant bullseye on his back that says “Come get me FNC”. Instead of trying to get CNN’s house in order in the most unassuming manner possible Zucker thrust everything he does under FNC PR’s microscope. Everything that comes Zucker’s way from FNC now and into the future can be traced back to this moment. While it will make for fun times for those of us who chronicle the spats between cable networks, it will utlimately prove to be a needlessly un-necessary distraction for CNN.

Target: Gabriel Sherman

Posted in FNC on January 10, 2014 by icn2

In a must read The Daily Beast’s David Freedlander uses Gabriel Sherman’s upcoming book to write about FNC’s opposition research wing…

Both of the librarians described being tasked with keeping close watch on Sherman, including compiling a dossier of every story he had ever written, and providing transcripts every time he was on television.

“They are terrified of him,” said one former librarian. “We were around the clock monitoring cable for mentions of Gabe Sherman. You could have breaking news going on, a school shooting or something, and they would still want to know if people were talking about the latest Gabriel Sherman story.”

For the librarians, the task was, at minimum, disheartening, since, from their perspective, they were there to assist the newsroom, not be an arm of the public relations department. But they learned, they said, that it was best to keep quiet about such requests. As one put it, “there was an understanding that all of the requests from the media department were coming from Roger. When media relations called, you jumped.”

Although others who worked at the Fox News Brain Room said they were not asked to carry out tasks for the media relations department, one former newscaster who spent five years at the network said, “It was never clear to me what the Brain Room did. They had their own army of investigators. Certainly they were never helpful to me.”

Roger Ailes Interview…

Posted in FNC on January 8, 2014 by icn2

The Hollywood Reporter’s Michael O’Connell interviews Roger Ailes. I found it superficially boring. You get to interview the most powerful man in news today, a once in a lifetime opportunity, and you waste time asking about Alec Baldwin?

Other people in cable news have said things in the past few months that cost them their jobs. What did you think of MSNBC’s Alec Baldwin experiment?

They dodged a bullet. They put him in there, and they would’ve had to fire him for no ratings. He gave them a reason to get fired. He appears to be angry and explosive, so that was essentially bound to happen. If somebody wants to book Alec Baldwin on one of our shows, and he wants to come on and talk to our people and say what he wants, I don’t care. We would question him on his choice of words. He’s sort of a ready-fire-aim kind of guy as opposed to ready-aim-fire.

Or you ask him what he reads?

When you wake up first thing in the morning, what do you read?

I look at four New York newspapers: The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the [New York] Post and the Daily News. On my cellphone, I look at Drudge [Report] because he’s the best aggregator going on.


Much more interesting is Ailes’ take on business news…

What are the growth expectations for Fox Business?

I’m not sure business television has adapted to all the changes that have been presented to it nor the economic conditions of the country. Our lineup of top business talent is like the New York Yankees in their heyday. That’s going to work for us as the economy turns and people get a little more disinterested in socialism and a little more interested in capitalism. Business news has traditionally looked at yesterday … a bunch of old people looking at numbers. And the real business news is going to be what happens tomorrow.

As was Ailes on the internet…

Is building Fox’s web presence a priority?

I was a little slow to it, I think, because it wasn’t my natural medium. I probably should have spent money six months or a year earlier to bring in more people. It’s a very intense business. You don’t get as much money, so you don’t make as much money, so you can’t spend as much money.

Bulletin Board PR 101

Posted in CNN, FNC, MSNBC on January 6, 2014 by icn2

Some people like Politico’s Dylan Byers called this punching down. I don’t. It’s classic Bulletin Board PR. And that’s all fair game as far as I’m concerned…

Megyn Kelly Profile…

Posted in FNC on December 11, 2013 by icn2

The Washington Post’s Dan Zak profiles Megyn Kelly…

“When Kelly first started [her new show], she came in and she was smart enough to ask me, ‘How do you drive an hour by yourself?’ ” O’Reilly says. “You can count on two hands who’s been successful at that. It’s very hard to drive an hour by yourself. I said, ‘Look, it’s all about the emotion of the day. You have to know what folks are talking about, and what they care about that day. So it can’t be all about you. It’s gotta be about them.’”

Kelly has listened. The words “anger” and “outrage” are used frequently on her program, as are vague references to “what is happening in this country.” Might this language, however justified on occasion, stoke and sustain a contentious discourse that ultimately corrodes the media and therefore the society it serves?

It doesn’t sound like you know exactly what you’re talking about.

“I hope not,” Kelly says. “I certainly don’t wanna be that force.”

She wants to address the feeling of powerlessness among viewers. When people don’t trust their media or their leaders — look at the congressional approval rating, she says, and the president’s crumbling credibility — they feel powerless. She views her program as a nightly attempt to wrest that power back.

“People feel validated when they hear their own emotions accurately described by someone on television,” Kelly says. “And I think when you ignore their genuine heartfelt feelings, they feel diminished. And I think it’s like scratching an itch, to hear someone in a position of power — somebody with a big microphone at least — give voice to what you’re feeling.”

What Price Secrecy?

Posted in FNC on December 9, 2013 by icn2

Gawker’s J.K. Trotter writes about what FNC allegedly paid Brian Lewis in his severence package…

Roger Ailes’ secrets command a heavy price. Last week, the New York Times reported that Fox News had reached an out-of-court settlement with Brian Lewis, the former Roger Ailes aide who was abruptly fired in late July. A Fox News executive with knowledge of the negotiations told Gawker that Lewis was paid approximately $8 million in hush money.

“The big talk at work, especially today, is the settlement number,” the executive said on Friday, explaining that the exact figure had been filtering through the channel’s rank-and-file since early November.

I don’t know…8 million seems awfully high to me. And then there’s this…

“That whole financial impropriety thing was complete bullshit,” explained the executive, corroborating the accounts of several other Fox sources. “Everything was about Gabe Sherman.” Sherman, the New York magazine writer, is scheduled to publish his long-anticipated (and unauthorized) biography of Roger Ailes in January; Ailes designated Lewis as Sherman’s point of contact at the network.

The executive further explained that, up until the day of Lewis’s dismissal, the channel’s public relations division, which Lewis oversaw, had suffered from heated internal disagreements about how to properly handle Sherman’s book.

The turmoil, which the executive compared to the conservative movement’s internecine struggle between the insurgent Tea Party and establishment Republicans, eventually split the press shop into two equally distinct camps. The first camp maintained that total radio silence was the best policy; the second, led by Lewis, argued that the network should try to engage Sherman.

“People in the first camp would say things like, ‘Mention the words Gabe and Sherman and you’re fired,’ while people in the second camp were more like, ‘Let’s talk with him,’” the executive contended. “The day the first camp won Roger over was the day Brian became an enormous liability.”

Brian Who?

Posted in FNC on December 5, 2013 by icn2

The New York Times’ Bill Carter writes about a rumored settlement between FNC and Brian Lewis. Carter’s piece isn’t very informative about the settlement but it sure as hell is informative about just how seriously the network is about keeping a lid on it…

At the time, Judd Burstein, the lawyer Mr. Lewis hired in the wake of his firing, responded with a statement of his own: “Roger Ailes and News Corp. have a lot more to fear from Brian Lewis telling the truth about them than Brian Lewis has to fear from Roger Ailes and his toadies telling lies about Brian Lewis.” Mr. Ailes is the chairman of Fox News.

When contacted two weeks ago for confirmation of the settlement, Mr. Burstein responded with a short sentence: “I have been advised to refer you to Dianne Brandi at the Fox News Channel.”

Upon being asked four more questions related to the possibility that a settlement had been reached, Mr. Burstein repeated the same sentence. Contacted on a second occasion this week, Mr. Burstein searched through notes to retrieve the agreed-upon statement and repeated it again.

Ms. Brandi is the lawyer for the Fox News Channel. Every attempt to seek information from Ms. Brandi — which included both phone calls and email — had the same result: silence.

A series of corporate communications executives who work either for the channel or its parent organizations 21st Century Fox and News Corporation, offered the same response to inquiries about the settlement: “I can’t help you on this.”

10 Years of Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace

Posted in FNC on December 4, 2013 by icn2

The AP’s David Bauder writes about Chris Wallace’s 10th Anniversary hosting Fox News Sunday…

While he takes pride in pointed questions, “if they feel they’ve been cheap shotted, then you’re not going to get them back on,” Wallace said. “It doesn’t mean you go easy on them. They have to think you’re tough but fair.”

Wallace also enjoys Saturday, when he uses research conducted on his guests to map out where an interview will go. Making news is a key consideration. The interviews themselves require many in-the-moment calculations. When Sarah Palin clearly ducked one of Wallace’s questions about presidential appointments recently, he had to make a decision: Do I bore in and try again? Or is it best to move on to another topic with the limited time at hand? This time, he moved on.

Wallace, 66, who covered the White House for NBC News during the Ronald Reagan administration and also moderated “Meet the Press,” said “there is a special joy in having the best job of your career in the home stretch of your career.”

Flying High…

Posted in FNC on December 3, 2013 by icn2

Variety’s Brian Steinberg writes about the success The Kelly File is having (and Hannity too)…

According to figures from Nielsen, in the third quarter, “The Kelly File, “On The Record” and “Hannity” – all holding forth in new time slots – have increased viewership in audience between the ages of 25 and 54 in the double-digit percentage range: “Kelly File” and “On The Record,” scheduled at 9 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, have seen those ratings increase 29%, while “Hannity,” now airing at 10 p.m., has seen its ratings in the demo increase 26%, all when compared to the third quarter of 2013.

“Kelly File” has also increased its total viewers and viewers between 25 and 54 at 9 p.m. over “Hannity”, according to Nielsen. Total viewers at 9 p.m. have 24% between October 7 and November 26. Meanwhile, viewers between the ages of 25 and 54 have increased 18% in the same period of time.

Maria Bartiromo Saves Sunday?

Posted in FNC on November 20, 2013 by icn2

The New York Post’s Claire Atkinson writes about Maria Bartiromo maybe getting a Sunday show…

Star business journalist Maria Bartiromo, jumping to Fox Business Network from CNBC, may also help energize the Sunday morning talk show sector at Fox News Channel, The Post has learned.

It’s unclear what time slot a Bartiromo-helmed show might occupy but sources said Tuesday the aim is to put its new star on Sunday mornings to weaken NBC’s “Meet the Press,” hosted by David Gregory.

I don’t know who leaked that to Atkinson. I do know that FNC can’t be happy with the way it came out as it…

A) Dumps all over Chris Wallace and Fox News Sunday.
B) Makes Bartiromo the knight in shining armor that will slay the Gregory dragon.

That is not the kind of storyline FNC would want to put out because it undermines everything the network has tried to do with Wallace and makes him look ineffective to take on Gregory whose Meet The Press show is widely regarded by many to be vulnerable because of the host. Ergo, I think the leak wasn’t official or it was official but the message got ruined by Atkinson’s write up.


Posted in FNC on November 17, 2013 by icn2

David Folkenflik writes a semi-must read about FNC and its use of PR. A lot of it is already well known to anyone who follows this industry closely. But not all…

Ailes prizes loyalty above all, and Lewis and Briganti appeared to have absorbed that lesson well—so much so that even fellow staffers have felt the PR shop’s wrath. In 2005, Laurie Dhue, then a Fox News anchor, dressed down a Fox News publicist in front of others in an elevator for failing to get her enough coverage, and then mistook a public relations intern trying to help her at a formal Washington function for a fan seeking an audience. Fox’s PR executives struck back. A Fox publicist sifted through more than 100 photographs to find one that made Dhue look inebriated and had it sent to Washington Post gossip columnist Anne Schroeder, according to Schroeder, to a second person who was a Fox News staffer at the time and to a third person who was present. The quote that ran in the Post, attributed to a network spokesman, only served to underscore the impression of dissolution: “Laurie had a good time. Everyone had a good time.”

George Will Interview…

Posted in FNC on October 22, 2013 by icn2

Deseret News’ Ted Walch interviews George Will and the subject of his move from ABC to FNC was on the front burner… (via J$)

The initial reports that syndicated columnist George Will left his 32-year stint with ABC’s Sunday morning news show “This Week” for Fox News earlier this month said that Will bolted because he didn’t want to travel to New York so often.

Will confirmed those reports Tuesday during a one-on-one interview with the Deseret News, but he added some additional reasons.

Primarily based in Washington, Will’s home, in previous years, “This Week” increasingly was filmed in New York. “Twenty Saturday nights in New York is too many,” Will told the Deseret News.

“That’s a large part of it,” he added. “Also, ABC News is a small appendage of a giant entertainment complex, Disney, ABC Entertainment, all the rest. Fox News is news all the time, 24 hours a day, and it’s just a different energy and feel.”

FNC Comment Spam?

Posted in FNC on October 20, 2013 by icn2

MediaMatters Ben Dimiero writes about an upcoming book from NPR’s David Folkenflik that contains the sensational charge that FNC PR spammed comments on media related blogs…

NPR media reporter David Folkenflik writes in his forthcoming book Murdoch’s World that Fox News’ public relations staffers used an elaborate series of dummy accounts to fill the comments sections of critical blog posts with pro-Fox arguments.

In a chapter focusing on how Fox utilized its notoriously ruthless public relations department in the mid-to-late 00’s, Folkenflik reports that Fox’s PR staffers would “post pro-Fox rants” in the comments sections of “negative and even neutral” blog posts written about the network. According to Folkenflik, the staffers used various tactics to cover their tracks, including setting up wireless broadband connections that “could not be traced back” to the network.

A former staffer told Folkenflik that they had personally used “one hundred” fake accounts to plant Fox-friendly commentary:

On the blogs, the fight was particularly fierce. Fox PR staffers were expected to counter not just negative and even neutral blog postings but the anti-Fox comments beneath them. One former staffer recalled using twenty different aliases to post pro-Fox rants. Another had one hundred. Several employees had to acquire a cell phone thumb drive to provide a wireless broadband connection that could not be traced back to a Fox News or News Corp account. Another used an AOL dial-up connection, even in the age of widespread broadband access, on the rationale it would be harder to pinpoint its origins. Old laptops were distributed for these cyber operations. Even blogs with minor followings were reviewed to ensure no claim went unchecked. [Murdoch's World, pg. 67]

In the book’s endnotes, Folkenflik explains that “four former Fox News employees told me of these practices.” It’s unclear whether these tactics are ongoing.

This story has legs. How long I’m not certain. But it definitely has legs. I could say more…I could definitely say more…but at the present time I will sit back and see where this goes first.

Inside the Fox News Deck…

Posted in FNC on October 8, 2013 by icn2

Newscast Studio’s Dak Dillon has an inside look at FNC’s News Deck. I’m making an effort to watch the show the next few days to get a feel for it and will comment later…

The set was built around the idea of getting to the story sooner and exposing more viewpoints. Viewers are already finding stories faster than networks through social media, so the Fox News Deck represents Fox’s endeavor to try and beat them.

The Fox effect

Overall, the set represents something only Fox News could pull off.

“There’s an aspiration with it [the Fox News Deck] to recognize the other communication channels that everyone’s using behind the curtain anyway,” said Erik Ulfers, president and founder of Clickspring Design. “The environment has to address that.”

No other network could be as daring to put so much technology and staff on screen. No one. Only during elections has it been tried at the network level, but it really hearkens back to an old TV news concept.

“We’ve had working newsrooms that have went in and out of fashion,” said Ulfers. “I think news organizations have just been afraid of it.”

Greta Van Susteren Interview…

Posted in FNC on October 2, 2013 by icn2

Greta Van Susteren is interviewed by Politico’s Mackenzie Weinger…

As for how she found herself at 7 p.m., Van Susteren said when she heard about the time slot’s availability, she made her interest known to the higher-ups at Fox News.

“7 p.m. was my choice — well, I should say I angled for it when I heard that Shep was leaving it,” she said. “Internally, after I’d heard Shep was leaving, I made myself, quote, available.”

Van Susteren, who called her new time slot a “reward” several times during the interview, said the move aligned with Fox News chief Roger Ailes’s desire “to do something new with the lineup.”

“I mean, he gave me a long-term contract, he gave me a raise and he gave me the 7 p.m.,” the “On the Record” host said. “You know, I’m not complaining. I’ve got a brand-new studio, all my own — I see this as a reward for 11½ years No. 1 at 10.”

After all, Van Susteren said she never imagined she’d stay as long as she did in her old time slot.

“I figured I’d do it for a year or two because that was the only open space when I came here because Paula Zahn was gone,” Van Susteren said. “So I’ve been the new person for 11½ years. And so nothing was ever open. And when I came here, everyone sort of said to me — no one promised me anything — but everyone said to me, ‘Yeah, yeah, if something earlier opens up, we’ll consider you.’ Nobody promised me anything.”

“Well, I never dreamed it would be 11½ years, for God’s sake,” she added with a laugh.

FNC Plays It Safe Hiring MSMer George Will…

Posted in FNC on October 1, 2013 by icn2

When I first heard that FNC had swiped George Will from ABC my first thought was “Did I just read that?”. My second thought was “Why?”. My third thought was “What has happened to FNC?”

Consider what FNC just did. It hired one of the most respected, thoughtful, well reasoned, conservative analysts in TV and print. In other words, FNC just hired the kind of establishment, MSM bound, elitist, milquetoast, dry, safe conservative pundit that in years past FNC wouldn’t have come near lest the move damaged that network’s brand as being not part of the MSM. A more erudite David Brooks. A more conservative version of David Gergen. The kind of conservative that the hot talk right crowd regularly dismisses as not in step with today’s more aggressive elements in the conservative movement.

In years past FNC did have Freddy “The Beadle” Barnes and Mort Kondracke host a weekend show and turn up for Fox News Sunday’s roundtable discussion now and again. But they were never considered “top tier” pundits and their exposure level on FNC reflected that.

Will is a top tier pundit, albeit a top tier MSM pundit. Sure, his presence will definitely boost Fox News Sunday and Special Report…especially FNS which took a prestige hit when it lost/dropped (pick one) Bill Kristol. But Kristol, while being of the establishment, was never of the establishment to the degree Will is. This isn’t a like for like swap. This is swapping a borderline MSM pundit for a full blown card carrying member of the MSM.

That’s what makes this move so puzzling. FNC was always the network that charted its own course; the network that marched to its own drum, thumbing its nose at the MSM at just about every opportunity. It stockpiled on the kind of conservative pundits that the MSM would only touch on rare occasions.

Now FNC has gone and hired an entrenched MSM conservative to be a lead pundit…and taken another step towards joining the mainstream media it used to shun like the plague…

FNC Announces Gretchen Carlson’s Show…

Posted in FNC on September 26, 2013 by icn2

FNC sent out a press release announcing Gretchen Carlson’s new show…

FOX News Channel to Debut The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson on Monday, September 30th

NEW YORK, Sep 25, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — FOX News Channel (FNC) will debut a new one-hour daytime program, The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, on Monday, September 30th at 2PM/ET, announced Michael Clemente, Executive Vice President of News for the network. Preceding that program at 1PM/ET will be a one-hour weekday presentation of America’s News HQ, co-anchored by Bill Hemmer and Alisyn Camerota.

Joining the daytime lineup, The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson (2-3PM/ET) will focus on all current events from general news and crime to politics and investigative reports. In this new role, Carlson will interview newsmakers and lead in-depth panel debates, lending viewers context and perspective on the headlines of the day. The program will also utilize social media to explore trending news stories and enlist viewer feedback.

In making the announcement, Clemente said, “Throughout her career, Gretchen has showcased her talents as a strong interviewer and skilled moderator, both of which will serve her well as she offers viewers a fresh take on the news.”
Continue reading

FNC Announces New Primetime Lineup…

Posted in FNC on September 17, 2013 by icn2

FNC announced its new primetime lineup that slots Greta at 7pm…outside of primetime…Megyn Kelly at 9pm and Sean Hannity to 10pm (surprise!)

FOX News Channel’s New Primetime Lineup to Debut on October 7th

NEW YORK, Sep 17, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — FOX News Channel (FNC) will unveil its new primetime lineup on Monday, October 7th, marking the 17th anniversary of the network, announced Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO, FOX News.

Greta Van Susteren will officially kick-off the new line-up with her signature On the Record with Greta Van Susteren at 7PM/ET. From there, Bill O’Reilly will continue hosting the most-watched cable news program The O’Reilly Factor at 8PM/ET. At 9PM/ET, Megyn Kelly will debut The Kelly File while Sean Hannity will take over the 10PM/ET timeslot with Hannity for his solo hour. Chief News Anchor and Managing Editor Shepard Smith will be available throughout to insert the latest breaking news into the new programming schedule via the FOX News Deck.

As the newest edition to the line-up, The Kelly File (9-10PM/ET) will focus on late-breaking stories in a live format as well as in-depth investigative reports interspersed with newsmaker interviews. While embracing a stronger social media presence, the new program will capitalize on Kelly’s skills as a former litigator, and create a unique platform for developing angles as events unfold.

Continue reading

Megyn Kelly’s New Show Name Revealed?

Posted in FNC on September 13, 2013 by icn2


Ahhh…that sneaky internet. You never know when you’re going to find an alleged new open to a show that hasn’t launched yet lying around on someone’s Vimeo page. But that’s apparently just what happened last night as someone from stumbled upon the possible new open for Megyn Kelly’s show.

I was snooping around the vimeo of an FNC-Graphics guy, and found these interesting snippets.

Alas, whoever’s account it was blocked access to the video overnight after this happened before I could get to it and rip it. Thankfully someone did post the above screen grab. Make of this what you will…

Update: Buzfeed’s Dorsey Shaw did get the video before it got restricted…(via J$).

BTW, it’s obvious that video isn’t an open. It’s an exit to commercial outro. No open would fade to black that fast but an outro would.

Shepard Smith Inks New FNC Deal; Loses 7pm, Keeps 3pm…

Posted in FNC on September 12, 2013 by icn2

The Hollywood Reporter’s Michael O’Connell writes about Shepard Smith’s new deal…

Fox News Channel’s new primetime lineup is starting to fall into place. The network announced Thursday that chief news anchor Shepard Smith has been given the dual role of managing editor of a new breaking news division.

The move will give Shepard an increased presence on the network, appearing with breaking news throughout the day and the primetime schedule — which has traditionally skewed towards commentary. His new role coincidences with a departure from the 7 p.m. hour’s The Fox Report, making room on the increasingly crowded primetime schedule. Megyn Kelly moves to block this fall, rumored to be in Sean Hannity’s 9 p.m. hour, while Hannity and Greta Van Susteren’s hours have been up in the air.


For Smith, his new role will also mean a new studio. The launch of his new job and Shepard Smith Reporting brings The Fox News Deck, a new stage where the hour and all of Smith and his team’s breaking news interruptions will be taped. A release touted the hub as a fusion of “incoming real-time news feeds, digital media newsgathering and social media utilizing advanced, state-of-the-art technology.”

Related: The AP’s has more

Ailes said it was a real attempt to try something new, to use improved technology to rethink how news is presented on the air and better fuse breaking news with Fox’s other programming. He said Smith was the best person on staff for the job.

“Everybody is beginning to wake up to this,” he said. “The problem is everybody can’t do it. Shep is of an age where he actually understands how to do this. When I want to get something done, I go to my 13-year-old son and say ‘Here, fix this to make my cell phone ring.’”

Still more: Mediaite’s Andrew Kirell interviewed Smith…

MEDIAITE: What will your new “Breaking News Desk” entail?

SMITH: We’re no longer going to pretend that you’re not reading Twitter and Instagram. What we want to do is vet it for you. We’ve got crazy new technology installed in the “Fox News Deck” to allow us to evaluate all our digital properties. We’ll be able to vet information for our audience at a speed unseen before. Instead of the producers and writers of each show digging for breaking information, we will have a team dedicated to breaking news throughout the day.

M: What will this team do, exactly?

S: We will vet the information, track down the information, reporting what’s being said, and try to make sense as you watch your own news feed. Historically, we moved the evening news to 7 p.m. because people weren’t home in time. But now, we want the evening news to be in real-time — daytime, primetime, across all platforms. Fox has made an enormous commitment to modernize news; to make it fit in our modern lives.

Part of me is wondering if this “crazy new technology” is a direct result of last year’s absorption of News Core’s software

Media Buzz: Your Reactions…

Posted in FNC on September 9, 2013 by icn2

Post your reactions to Howard Kurtz’s Media Buzz here.

Cat l Alt’s New FNC Show: Your Reactions

Posted in FNC on September 9, 2013 by icn2

Post your reactions to Carol Alt’s new weekend FNC show here. I thought it was uneven and had a kid of infomercial feel to it with how disjointed it felt at times. I’ll confess that the only reason I saw it is I hadn’t adjusted my DVR’s weekend recording schedule yet…


Posted in FNC on August 27, 2013 by icn2

Well, we shouldn’t be too surprised to find that Brian Lewis has hired powerhouse lawyer Judd Burstein. As TVNewser’s Chris Ariens pointed out earlier today, Lewis started out taking the high road publicly. But after a series of increasingly larger negative leaks on Lewis by elements of FNC, the high road was apparently no longer a viable option.

We already knew from Bill Carter’s reporting that exit agreement negotiations were still going on between FNC and Lewis so presumably lawyers were already involved on Lewis’ behalf. So why turn up the heat by hiring Burstein?

A clue can be found in the statement Burstein sent to Gawker today…

I have just been retained and am still plotting our course of action. But two things are very clear to me. First, Brian Lewis no longer has any confidentiality obligation to Newscorp or Roger Ailes because of the false and malicious statements made by Fox to date. Second, Roger Ailes and Newscorp have a lot more to fear from Brian Lewis telling the truth about them than Brian Lewis has to fear from Roger Ailes and his toadies telling lies about Brian Lewis.

This statement reveals two things…an attempt at damage control after a week of FNC based leaks on Lewis…and a classic attempt to leverage a better exit deal for Lewis. Given that Lewis was let go last month, that the negotiations have dragged on this long suggests that Lewis wasn’t happy with the terms being offered.

Thus the not so veiled, albeit totally vacant, threat that Lewis can talk about all kinds of things FNC would rather have him not talk about. It’s totally vacant because it’s not a threat one makes publicly if the intent is to go public and reveal all kinds of FNC dirt. If you want to shovel dirt…you shovel it…you don’t puff your chest about the possibility of shoveling it. You only puff your chest as a negotiating tactic.

What we’re seeing here is no different from the veiled, and just as vacant, threats Judith Regan made about a senior executive (which later was revealed to allegedly be Roger Ailes) in her lawsuit with News Corp. It was a negotiating tactic that nobody thought would ever get to trial and it didn’t.

I view Burstein’s statement the same way. This is a negotiating tactic aimed at getting the best possible deal for Lewis. FNC has no desire to see Lewis talking and I doubt Lewis has any desire to talk. It’s a high stakes poker game in the legal arena. Eventually both sides will come to an agreement and this threat, like Regan’s, will never result in those of us who yearn for dirt being spilled to get what we want.

But there is a wildcard in play here. That wildcard is just how strongly Roger Ailes feels Lewis talked extensively with Gabriel Sherman for his upcoming book. There’s no proof this has happened but Ailes apparently thinks it has. If Ailes has got it in his head that Lewis already spilled considerable dirt to Sherman, that would make Ailes reluctant to sign too big a check in exchange for Lewis’ legally binding silence. The reason this would be the case is because if Lewis had spilled considerable dirt to Sherman already then the need to legally silence Lewis drops considerably because the cat is already out of the bag so a large check would be pointless at that point.

Howard Kurtz Goes Up Against His Old Show…

Posted in CNN, FNC on August 26, 2013 by icn2

Today’s news that Howard Kurtz’s new media show MediaBuzz will be slotted against his old Reliable Sources show on CNN certainly sets the stage for a showdown of sorts. If FNC should win the hour handily on the first airing, I would expect FNC to maximize the PR potential. Although we haven’t seen a lot of cross network warfare with anonymous sniping and Photoshop cheap shots aimed at CNN of the type which happened back when Jon Klein was running CNN (and yes I DO miss those days as they kept things interesting), one could think this case might be an exception this time since Kurtz was with CNN for so long and FNC did snap him up quickly.

Irena Briganti To Take Over For Brian Lewis?

Posted in FNC on August 23, 2013 by icn2

Politico’s Mike Allen is reporting that Irena Briganti may be the one who takes over for Brian Lewis at FNC. Allen also has a lot more back story on Lewis’ firing…

IRENA BRIGANTI, the number two official in Fox News media relations, is likely to succeed her former boss, Brian Lewis, according a Fox News executive familiar with the situation. The executive did not divulge the reason Lewis was fired, citing possible legal talks. But the executive provided an unusually vivid window into the thinking of Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, who fired Lewis on July 25. Lewis, who was escorted from the building, had fallen from favor months before. Lewis had long had two offices: one near Ailes’s suite on the second floor of the former News Corp. tower in midtown Manhattan, and another on the 22nd floor. John Moody, a Fox News executive who took another assignment within the corporation and then returned, got Lewis’s prime real estate and Lewis was banished to the 22nd floor in July 2012, according to the executive.

On June 13, Lewis was out of the loop on the announcement that Sarah Palin was being re-signed as a Fox News contributor. The executive said Lewis also was excluded from conversations about Megyn Kelly’s promotion to primetime, announced July 2. And according to the executive, Lewis also was not told that Elisabeth Hasselbeck of “The View” was becoming a co-host of “Fox & Friends”; Briganti handled the July 9 rollout. “Roger wasn’t confident that [Brian] could keep those secrets,” the executive said. The executive said that one factor in the growing distrust of Lewis – but not THE trigger – was his suspected cooperation with Gabriel Sherman on his forthcoming book, “The Loudest Voice in the Room: The Inside Story of How Roger Ailes and Fox News Remade American Politics.”

Continue reading

More on Brian Lewis…

Posted in FNC on August 21, 2013 by icn2

Politico’s Dylan Byers writes about Brian Lewis…

But one of the issues at play, sources with knowledge of the situation told POLITICO on Wednesday, was that Ailes had suspected Lewis of leaking information to Gabriel Sherman, the author of a forthcoming book about Ailes and Fox News.

As executive vice president of communications, Lewis’s correspondence with Sherman came with the job. But on occasion, Lewis also discussed internal decision-making matters and spoke freely about network employees — the sort of thing that Ailes, a fierce protector of the Fox News brand, would likely view as a breach of trust.


The fact that Sherman’s book played some role in Lewis’s firing is nevertheless starting to leak beyond Fox News’s executive circle. On Tuesday night, Matt Drudge, founder of the influential Drudge Report site, tweeted, “TRUTH: Behind scenes shitstorm around reporter Gabriel Sherman and his anti-Ailes FOXNEWS book. Top source caught. Lawyers swarm scene.”

This was followed in relatively short order by a story by Mediaite’s Andrew Kirell…

“Few people at Fox have ever seen Lewis at any kind of a strategy meeting, certainly not about programming or talent or news,” the source said. “Lewis and [New York editor] Gabriel Sherman are the only two who believe that Lewis was actually the right-hand man to Roger Ailes.”

Sherman’s the author of an upcoming book on Ailes that will likely contain a majority of negative anecdotes. According to the source, Sherman got much of his information by talking to Lewis. “If Gabe Sherman’s book comes from the mind of Brian Lewis, it’ll be fiction,” the source asserted.

While insider sources all indicate that Lewis was well-known for his ability to strategize, the Fox exec said that things took a turn for the worse when “his ego got out of control and the spin became about himself.”

“He came to believe that he kept Roger ‘in line’, and that everyone else at Fox was an idiot,” our source continued. “He had his own agenda.”

I’m certain there’s at least some truth to this. The question I always come back to though is this: What is the agenda and who is it serving here?

Brian Lewis: The Day After

Posted in FNC on August 21, 2013 by icn2

More color is emerging…or more dirt is emerging (depending on your point of view) about the Brian Lewis firing…

The New York Times’ Bill Carter has some well placed leakage

The news stunned many in the world of cable news, where Mr. Lewis, an executive vice president who ran the aggressive communications and public relations arm of Fox News, was long thought to be an indispensable adviser to Mr. Ailes. But one senior executive who worked closely with both men for a number of years said that their relationship had soured badly within the last year or so.

“This has been coming for a long time,” said the senior executive, who asked not to be identified because of professional relationships with both men. “They have not been close for a long time. I have known this was coming.”

The executive said that Mr. Lewis, who for most of the existence of Fox News occupied an office just down the hall from Mr. Ailes, had within the last year been moved to another floor. “It had gotten really nasty and acrimonious between the two of them,” the executive said.

And New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman chips in an interesting anecdote…an anecdote which makes me wonder why Sherman didn’t relay it back when it happened? Or did I just miss it?

In April 2012, I bumped into Lewis in North Carolina at a cocktail reception before Ailes delivered a speech to UNC Journalism students. Ailes had traveled down to Chapel Hill on News Corp.’s private jet with his handpicked biographer, Zev Chafets, and Lewis. It was a few days after the Fox mole story broke on Gawker.

“So, we’re gonna sue Gawker, and we might try and have him arrested,” Lewis said, referring to Joe Muto, the mole.

“Why are you guys making such a big deal about this?” I said. “You’re a television network valued at $14 billion. Isn’t this punching down?”

“Dude, I know. I was overruled,” Lewis said. “I told them, but I was told that legal would be handling this from here forward. I’m like, Okay.”

As Lewis saw it, tracking down Muto and firing him were the important things. Muto’s leaks, embarrassing as they were, were inconsequential.

“So he puts up a picture of O’Reilly posing with a naked girl? O’Reilly deserves to get whacked for that. Chucklehead,” Lewis said. “And he writes that Sean Hannity has trouble with TelePrompTers and coddles Republicans? Geesh, really?”

Brian Lewis Fired By FNC…

Posted in FNC on August 20, 2013 by icn2

Wowwy wow wow wow. The Hollywood Reporter’s Paul Bond and Matthew Bellini write about FNC’s PR chief  Brian Lewis being fired. Talk about shock moves I’d never ever expect to see happen. It would be like Ted Turner firing Tom Johnson…

Attempts to reach Lewis were not successful. An e-mail to Lewis at Fox News prompted an “on vacation” auto-reply message. Fox News insiders said Tuesday that Lewis no longer works for the company. A spokeswoman said “we do not comment on employee matters.”

Lewis also was senior adviser to Ailes, who was handpicked by Rupert Murdoch to create Fox News as its founding CEO. Today, Ailes also is chairman of Fox Television Stations. Before his firing, Lewis often was a spokesman for Ailes, who asked him to act as liaison between him and Zev Chafets while Chafets was writing his recently released book, Roger Ailes: Off Camera, a mostly flattering biography of Ailes.

Insiders say that their close relationship made it difficult for Ailes to cut Lewis loose, but the financial issues his actions raised — details of which were not available Tuesday — coupled with complaints about complacency and other matters, left Ailes feeling as if he had no other choice.

Bill Kristol and FNC Part Ways…

Posted in FNC on August 19, 2013 by icn2

I didn’t think I’d ever see this happen. But Bill Kristol and FNC have apparently parted ways

Roger Ailes’ Succession Plans…

Posted in FNC on August 8, 2013 by icn2

MediaPost’s David Goetzl writes about Roger Ailes talking at the 21st Century Fox Investors Conference about his succession plans…

Still — it wasn’t all humor, as Ailes indicated he intends to fulfill his contract, which runs through 2016. He says he has a succession plan that he updates every six months.

Do company chiefs Rupert Murdoch and Chase Carey know about it?

No. “They’re going to get surprised,” he said, acknowledging his recommendation may not be followed.



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