Dad to the Rescue?
Murdoch held the meeting in the network’s new Studio F, where he discussed the company’s plans for a new newsroom and the future of Fox News.
“All Fox employees are invited to join the exec chairman in Studio F for a presentation to unveil plans for the first major Floor 2 overhaul in two decades,” the invitation read.
The departure of Ailes, O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly were huge hits to the network’s prime-time lineup. Rupert’s sons James and Lachlan then shook-up the evening schedule and competitors have enjoyed great success against their changes.
What’s wrong with Fox News Now?
Three major factors are weighing on the formerly unbeatable Fox News: Ailes is gone, key stars are gone, and the new schedule is terrible.
Ailes was known for his ability to select and grow talent – a characteristic that has not been attributed to any of the Murdochs. Fox now has no ability to find young, otherwise unknown talent and grow them into superstars. Ailes’ scouting and mentoring genius were emphasized during the farewell tributes of every host after Roger’s death.
The entire thing looks like a rough-and-tumble version of “outnumbered”
Watching the new “Fox News Specialists” is hard. Aile’s would either have rejected the show idea or would have been able to fix it. The Murdoch boys, and perhaps dad himself, are unable to see the problems nor fix them. Kat Tempf is awesome, but not in the role she’s been given on the Specialists. Half referee and another half anchor isn’t a style in her wheelhouse and there’s no one at Fox able to help her go that way should she wish to. The entire thing looks like a rough-and-tumble version of “outnumbered” where a couch full of ladies bring in a man and discuss the issues of the day. Instead, it’s Tempf, Bolling and Eboni Williams talking over each other and their guests. It’s not cute, funny, hard-hitting, informative or in any way enjoyable. Perhaps “The View” is a closer analog.
Who put this schedule together?
The new prime-time schedule suffers from illogical transitions between shows that should be hours apart and good shows in wrong timeslots.
Tucker Carlson was perfect at 9 pm serving as a bridge between a no-spin O’Reilly and the harder hitting Hannity. Now Carlson’s show sits between MacCallum’s softball interview show “The Story” and a snarky, opinionated “The Five.” In no way does it make sense. It isn’t working and the transition is … odd.
“The Five” belonged at 5 pm as a good bridge between the news of the day and the evening commentary. And Kat Tempf is a perfect fit for this format. She’s a snarky, opinionated comedienne, let her do her thing.
The schedule is a disservice to Hannity who has a group of entertaining, but opinionated, sarcastic co-hosts as a lead-in. Few Five viewers are going to continue on to Hannity’s hard-hitting commentary and Sean’s audience may not tune in early to catch Greg Gutfield’s snark-fest. Both are good shows, but it’s arguably another terrible transition.
A Loss of Talent
Fox has lost two of Aile’s original powerhouses with only Hannity remaining – and his contract has a clause that allows him to walk since Ailes’ was let go.
O’Reilly and Kelly leaving the network hit it hard in time slots that Fox had owned for years – not anymore. O’Reilly was the #1 rated cable news host – period. Megyn Kelly had a firm hold on her time slot. Those losses could only be replaced by talent that will take a master to find, years to groom and a world-class mentor to grow. Fox News does not have the scout, time nor mentor to accomplish those herculean tasks.
Management is the issue
Whether Rupert’s new newsroom and studio make a difference is yet to be seen, but the current problems aren’t because of a stale setting or an inadequate workflow.
Putting Murdoch’s liberal sons James and Lachlan at the helm of a center-right news organization was doomed to fail from the start. They are trying to turn the innovative network into something you might see in Europe – something that would only appeal to the same audience as CNN and MSNBC. There’s no gap there boys – NONE!
Roger Ailes built a network that filled a gap and solved a problem. CNN, MSNBC, and network news all showed current events from the same perspective – that of New York and Los Angeles elites. Ohio-born Ailes grew up working for a living and understood that working families don’t relate to that crap. The Murdoch’s are nothing like Roger and the Murdoch boys’ vision will destroy the network enjoyed by working Americans if they are not stopped.
Capitalism ensures that where a profitable gap opens, an able leader will fill it. Is Fox News heading for a future where it will be replaced by another network with Ailes’-like vision? The next six months will tell that tale – that’s 2 quarters in corporate terms (in case the Murdochs weren’t aware.)
Management is screwing the network into the ground and the board of directors should start paying attention now – advertisers already are and shareholders soon will be.