• Rumor has it that Richard Parson's will announce his departure at Time Warner as early as this week. Jeff Bewkes, longtime No. 2, is set to take over as CEO. Does this mean a Parsons run for mayor? [Times of London]
• Radar cooked up a clever quiz: Fox News anchor or porn star? You decide. Wait, no, Murdoch decides. [Radar]
• Jim Cramer matched Rupert Murdoch's legendary subtlety: "We have a competitor now in Fox and it is really important to destroy and mutilate them." [Broadcasting & Cable]
On Wednesday night when we ran into Mel Brooks at the Fox Business Network launch party, he told us that he was still making "nips and cuts" to his new Broadway show, Young Frankenstein, which is in previews right now. "It's going in the right direction," he assured us, jollily. But apparently Mel is painting a rosy picture. In today's Post, Michael Riedel reports that Brooks and the Frankenstein crew are panicking because lead actor Roger Bart's back problems are going to prevent him from taking the stage in most performances. He has a talented understudy, but Riedel's source (someone ridiculously nicknamed "Deep Abby Norman") says that producers are looking for a more famous lead. Eddie Izzard and Hugh Jackman have both been mentioned. We're guessing, though, if he happened to ask Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes at the FBN party for their thoughts, they'd have given the same advice we will: Pick whoever is the hottest.
Decision Is Spinal [NYP]
Earlier:Fox Business Network: The Victory Party
Last night's launch party for Fox Business Network had so many media and business moguls, you couldn't throw a canapé without mussing up the rug of some very important dude. Seriously, our throats were burning from inhaling the perfume of wealth and success. In one corner of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Temple of Dendur, Liz Smith chatted with Mel Brooks and Harvey Weinstein. (Apparently, Harvey loves the channel. "I love Roger Ailes," he said, though he would not tell us what he liked the best or whether he ate Money for Breakfast.) In another corner, Oscar and Annette de la Renta greeted Regis and Joy Philbin. And kingly in the middle of it all, like a pair of samurai and their husbands, were Rupert Murdoch, Les Moonves, Julie Chen, and Rupert's wife, Wendi Deng. "Wendi, we love your bracelets!" we cried in unison, suddenly morphing into Blair's sidekicks in Gossip Girl. "They were only twenty dollars," she exclaimed. Wow, we thought. Wendi is so down-to-earth! "But this wasn't," she laugh-cackled, flashing us her index finger, which was adorned with what looked to be the actual Hope Diamond.
David Boies, Al Gore's lawyer in his recount battle against Bush in 2000, may have taken on Blackwater CEO Erik Prince as a client. The 2008 Zagat's says that the Waverly Inn is owned by "Grayson Carter." Deepak Chopra likes telling bad jokes about the president. A random crowd outside the French Institute was invited to watch a screening of Tina Fey'sBaby Mama and enjoyed it. Vince Vaughn hung out at the Rose Bar and the Box on Saturday. Mariah Carey promoted her new perfume at Macy's Herald Square. Fox Business Network is throwing a launch party tonight at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
So the numbers are in, and it looks like Fox Business Network and its ruthless cadre of joy buccaneers has made a dent on the cable finance-news market. Well, the numbers aren't quite in – FBN won't be officially tracked until next year. But it looked like during their first week on the air, audience numbers for rival CNBC dipped noticeably Monday through Thursday across a wide range of indicators. This is great news for Roger Ailes, who was probably only planning on measuring the network's success on how much it damaged CNBC, his former home, anyway. CNBC did make strides in the coveted 25 to 54 age demographic, but this is where their pragmatism will get in the way. A slight positive in a wash of negative news on CNBC would be treated as a defeat. On FBN, it would be a win, win, win!!
Viewership Dips, But Key Demo Gains During Four Days After Fox Business Network Launch [Multichannel]
No, literally — it's all about gold. Rupert Murdoch's new cable channel ran multiple segments on gold in its first week, which we thought was a little weird. But after we watched the hundredth paid advertisement for gold (damn watching TV in real time!), we thought, maybe it makes sense. If your sponsors are talking about it, why shouldn't you? Anyway, you may be wondering how on earth we happened to notice something like that. It's because we have been watching FBN every day, ALL WEEK. Yes! We love Alexis Glick, Neil Cavuto, and their motley crew of optimism pirates. They're irresistible (especially young NYSE floor reporter Nicole Petallides, who makes rival Maria Bartiromo look like the Jessica Tandy in Driving Miss Daisy) and their financial joy is maddeningly, confusingly infectious. After the jump, our other favorite FBN moments from a week of watching.
Guess what we did this morning? We got up and watched Fox Business Network, so you didn't have to! Today was the channel's first day in action, and the energy was high. Like mid-2006 housing market high. As in, everybody's so high it's a little uncomfortable to watch. Their morning show, Money for Breakfast (oh, that's right), is hosted by Peter Barnes and Alexis Glick. Barnes seems to handle the straight news, while Glick runs around doing interviews and special features with the inexplicable mania of Ann Curry on speed ("LOOK AT THOSE CUFF LINKS!" she told a reporter. "HE MUST BE SPENDING"). Want to know what else we like? Since, unlike some people, we don't have a fancy, jumbo-size information ticker, you'll have to go after the jump.
• Looks like the Fox Business Network has a shitload of work to do on their studio before launching next Monday. They've got the requisite bright-red circle hung above the anchor desk, but otherwise the floor's not even finished. NBC News, on the other hand, finally cut the ribbon on their new 30 Rock studio, which president Steve Capus compared to "the dance floor of the Stockholm Hilton." Was that supposed to be a compliment? [FishbowlNY/Mediabistro, TVNewser]
• Jan Wenner failed to lure Ed Felsenthal away from the Journal (and Portfolio) and had to settle for Brad Wieners as new editor at Men's Journal. Wieners has been acting editor since August, when James Kaminsky decamped for Maxim. [NYP]
• Poynter Institute: As a journalist, it's your "duty" to read the print newspaper. Unclear how that affects bloggers. [Poynter]
The Economist makes a good point today. Why, if CNBC is distributed into 90 million homes and the fledgling Fox Business Network has only barged its way into 30 million, is the old network so worried? CNBC is already doing what FBN claims it will try to newly achieve — that is, bringing business news to the common man and taking a pro-business approach. Since both FBN and CNBC were shepherded into life by Roger Ailes himself, Fox will obviously face a major problem differentiating itself, let alone improving upon the formula. But will that even matter? As the mag points out, a rising stock market tends to be good for ratings, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is at a new record high. Plus, the subprime crisis in August gave CNBC its best numbers in half a decade. If that all continues, there might be enough demand for both networks to flourish. Now that wouldn't be any fun, would it?
A New Business Channel Takes on General Electric's CNBC [The Economist]
When we saw the Wall Street Journal interview today with Fox Business Network overlord Roger Ailes, we were excited to learn more about the soon-to-debut channel. So when we began to flip through, we were less than delighted that all we read about was CNBC. Ailes began his interview with the WSJ's Rebecca Dana by saying, "I think the CNBC Fox Business Network so-called rivalry could be overblown." And then he went on to rant about his former network for much of the rest of the interview. "They've embraced capitalism suddenly," he chortles. "They've put on shows: what? Capitalism's good! What a plan." Oh, har. If this is the kind of muckraking journalism we can expect from FBN, we'll definitely tune in! After the jump, more on what FBN's Roger Ailes has to say about — what else? — Another network.
Rupert Murdoch's new finance channel just launched its Website, and it lends a little insight into what the network will be offering up when it launches on October 15. Namely, foxy young broads!* Almost all of the on-air talent that's plugged on the site are skinny, youthful beauties like Shibani Joshi (a former model in India), Cheryl Casone (a former flight attendant), Jenna Lee (she played Division One softball in college), and Nicole Petillades (she loves slalom waterskiing!). And the best part is some of the foxy young broads are dudes! Reporter Colin McShane (he has 45 first cousins!) is a total DILF, and Cody Willard (he writes songs for a band called Museum of the Horse) has the glorious eyes and hair of a young Jennifer Connelly. Needless to say, we cannot wait until this network debuts. We want to see how long it will take them to fire Neil Cavuto for not being "leggy" enough.
Fox Business Network [Launch site]
* Every one of these "foxy young broads" is extremely well qualified as a hard-working journalist. We're just trying to imagine why Rupert hired them.
• Murdoch is hinting heavily that he'll take WSJ.com free, but Dow Jones CEO Richard Zannino doesn't think it's such a great idea. [WSJ]
• Well, we'll be — Portfolio pulling down pretty good ad pages. [NYP]
• Roger Ailes, former CNBC president now with Fox Business Network, making many CNBCers interested in switching teams. It may be many things, but it won't be boring! [NYO]
By now, everyone knows that the key to Rupert Murdoch's bid for Dow Jones — the synergistic centerpiece that makes the whole thing make sense — is his plan to integrate the Wall Street Journal with his new Fox Business Channel. But let's step back and learn a little more about this forthcoming CNBC rival. A report in Fortune sheds some timely light on the cable channel, and, as it turns out, the thing looks surprisingly, um, budget-conscious. Insiders tell Fortune that News Corp. has set aside $100 million in initial capital. For comparison, that's a quarter of the sum Murdoch put up for Fox News — and that was more than a decade ago. Talent-wise, News Corp. appears to be hiring about 300 people, also a very modest number. Of course, one can understand Rupe's wariness: It's a field littered with failures (CNNfn and the Financial News Network come to mind). But Murdoch has gone up against tough odds before — but you know the Bancrofts will be just thrilled to learn their crown jewel is set to be paired with a cubic zirconium.
A Cable Network On a Shoestring [Fortune via CNNMoney]