Fox News alpha blonde Megyn Kelly delivered a showstopping performance on election night, wowing even liberals with her leggy improvisation and willingness to shut down Karl Rove. While she’s long been a rising star at the network, Kelly’s ability to run the show at a crucial moment has many wondering if her talent is being wasted on an afternoon slot, a question sure to come up when her Fox contract expires next year. “A lot of people will try to recruit her,” Kelly’s boss Roger Ailes told MediaBistro this week, kicking off the public negotiations with a threat. “I’d be stunned if she wanted to go any other cable channel. That’s a real dive off a high cliff,” he continued. “Nobody’s ever left here and made it and a lot of people who left other places have done really well here.”
Is that so, Mr. Ailes?
While the relatively young Fox News has been careful to lock up its biggest names, like Ailes, who recently signed a four-year contract extension, and marquee hosts like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, a few people have managed to escape, with varying degrees of success. The boss’s contention that “Nobody’s ever left here and made it,” though, is something of a distortion.
Major Garrett: After eight years as Fox’s White House correspondent, Garrett left the network for a job at the National Journal in 2010, at which point Ailes said, “You’re one of the few guys who never got addicted to TV.” This week, Garrett announced he’s returning to television and will be covering the White House for CBS News, which does not sound like such a bad gig.
Status: Made it (to a prestigious network)
Laurie Dhue: A veteran of MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News, where she was a reporter and guest host from 2000 until 2008, Dhue later said she quit her TV job to get help for alcoholism. Now sober, she speaks about recovery at conventions and corporate events.
Status: Made it (in a personal sense)
Glenn Beck: When all of the tears and conspiratorial chalkboard diagrams became too much, even for Fox News, Beck burrowed deeper into his warped psyche and his loyal fans followed: His company, Mercury Radio Arts, doubled its revenue from $40 million to $80 million. His Internet channel, GBTV, has more than 300,000 subscribers — and he has his own line of fancy jeans.
Status: Made it ($$$)
Greg Burke: Formerly Fox’s European and Middle East correspondent, Burke parlayed his overseas experience into a job handling PR for the Vatican as the Pope deals with a scandal involving secret documents leaked by his butler.
Status: Made it (into a more stressful job)
Suzanne Sena: In what might be the most apt career jump made from Fox, Sena left the fair-and-balanced channel after two years to work as fake newswoman Brooke Alvarez on IFC’s Onion News Network. “I actually think of it as real news in an alternate reality,” she said, which sounds just like another network we know.
Status: Made it (to the promise land)