When the owners of a media empire start making news themselves, it can put employees in an uncomfortable position. The ongoing phone-hacking scandal at News Corporation is not only a good story for its serious properties, like The Wall Street Journal, but it makes for great comedy, as evidenced by the podcast The Bugle, which gained popularity this year by skewering Rupert and James Murdoch, whose Times of London published the show. Unfortunately, the paper dropped the program, hosted by The Daily Show’s John Oliver and British comedian Andy Zaltzman, this week, supposedly for financial reasons, not because of ill-advised jokes.
“It’s not been a great year for the company, and I’m not surprised that they are cutting costs,” said the podcast’s freelance producer. “Listening figures are up, but media sales in the U.K. as a whole are down.” The comedians may pursue a subscription model, likely heartened by Louis C.K.’s recent success. As for the Murdochs, the material just keeps coming. “Last show possibly this week, but hopefully mid-January,” said Zaltzman. “No lash-out plans. Yet.”