Ailes: Collateral Damage Control

The Financial Times’ Matthew Garrahan and Anna Niccolaou have some new things to add to the story. The article confirms Gabriel Sherman’s “out by after the GOP convention” story and the authors report that Ailes is furious with the Murdochs.

But the intriguing tidbit which is revealed in the article is that the contracts for O’Reilly, Hannity, and Van Susteren all have “Ailes escape clauses”…meaning if Ailes is not running the show, they can leave.

I don’t see this as a consideration though some might. If the accusations have any validity, 20th Century FOX’s hands are tied. You just can’t have healhty corporate governance with that kind of ethical cloud hanging over the company. Can you imagine the corporate culture at play if 20th Century FOX decided to retain Ailes in order to prevent a talent exodus…what kind of message that would send to every single female employee at FNC? And the kind of legal jeopardy it put the entire corporation in?

No. If the allegations are true…and that’s still not an automatic despite the circumstantial optics being displayed…20th Century FOX has no choice…remove Ailes and roll the dice that there won’t be a talent exodus.

I’m not convinced there will be a big exodus. O’Reilly is close to calling it a day already so he’s gone either way soon enough. Hannity and Van Susteren? Where are they going to get a bigger broader TV platform than where they currently are? Newsmax TV? HA! Hannity’s exit is all the more unlikely if Bill Shine were to take over for Ailes because those two go way back.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t people who would leave…or more to the point…that there aren’t people who wouldn’t be allowed back on the air if Ailes was no longer there. There are definitely people we’d never see again on a non-Ailes run FNC.

Also worth considering is who would be allowed to remain in their current executive positions in a non-Ailes run FNC. You’re not going to install a new President at the network and expect they’ll be completely comfortable with the current arrangement. Not even Shine. I can think of a few who could be looking over their shoulders if Ailes isn’t in charge.

4 Responses to “Ailes: Collateral Damage Control”

  1. […] If Ailes exits don’t expect a talent exodus, with a few […]

  2. I can imagine O’Reilly going into semi-retirement soon like Brit Hume but still being a big presence at FNC. Overall though, why would anyone leave or why would Bill Shine or whoever takes over want to mess with a successful lineup? Tinker a little here and there with things, but making big changes would just make internal issues more chaotic.

    I am curious who you think would be gone after Ailes leaves. Susan Estrich is certainly one, I would imagine: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/roger-ailes-lawyer-his-exit-912548

  3. You are curious…and curious you shall remain…

    Sorry…but I’m not prepared to prognosticate publicly beyond what I’ve already said.

    I do expect some kind of internal culture shift at the network should Ailes be forced out. He ran the company one particular way and that’s a way that none of the contenders (or pretenders) to his thrown can do. Except maybe Shine. So I expect cultural changes over time. That would force out certain people who directly contributed and facilitated said culture.

  4. bushleaguer Says:

    How would you describe the “culture” that currently exists at Fox?

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