Fox Business Network: The Victory PartyLast 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.
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Optimism Rules! FBN Takes a Bite Out Of CNBCSo 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]
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Fox Business Network and CNBC: Can’t We All Just Get Along?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]
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Roger Ailes on CNBCWhen 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.
Murdoch Mulls the Liberation of WSJ.comMEDIA
• 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]
Girl Trouble at CNBCA number of female anchors at CNBC are annoyed at the preferential treatment given to Money Honeys Maria Bartiromo and Erin Burnett. Kate Moss and Pete Doherty may be back together. Anna Wintour canoodled with Shelby Bryan at day one of the U.S. Open. Bill and Hillary Clinton may be buying property on Martha’s Vineyard next to Ted Danson. Mets shortstop Jose Reyes partied with girls at a club in Bridgeview. George Lopez’s bodyguard assaulted a Post reporter at a showing of Superbad. (Related: George Lopez has a bodyguard?) Several New York nightclub owners decided to party this summer in Europe and South America. Amy Winehouse’s father-in-law is urging her fans not to buy her albums until she cleans up her act in rehab. The Lohans are finally allowing estranged father Michael to visit Lindsay in rehab.
A Money-er Honey?CNBC “Money Honey” Maria Bartiromo is jealous of co-worker Erin Burnett because Burnett is becoming more popular than she is. An upcoming book about Katie Couric claims she planned to leave NBC a year before she actually did and that the staff of 60 Minutes thinks she’s a “lightweight.” State Senator Carl Kruger is not a fan of fellow Democrat Eliot Spitzer. Jeremy Shockey took a bunch of Giants teammates to Scores. The woman who blogged about Keith Olbermann’s bedside manners is no longer maintaining her blog. Naomi Watts finally gave birth. Nora Ephron has spent a lot of time giving her breasts a workout. Christie Brinkley is spending $10.9 million to buy the house in North Haven next door to the one where Peter Cook had an affair.
Enquiring Minds Want CashThe wife and son of deceased National Enquirer founder Generoso Pope Jr. are suing each other for the remainder of his $418 million fortune. Barbaro was the focus groups’ choice for August’s Vanity Fair cover, but Graydon Carter nixed him for Shia LaBeouf. CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo will soon have her own show titled Money Honey. The Giulianis like golf, bargains, The Tudors. Chris Noth tried to poach talent for his club from Hawaiian Tropic Zone but failed. Tinsley Mortimer and Lydia Hearst are attending a dinner thrown by Pete Wentz in the Hamptons. Jon Anderson of Yes canceled a benefit show for a bunch of kids because his spiritual adviser told him to.
Surprise! Big Money Causes Big ProblemsFINANCE
• Hedge-fund divorces are drawn-out, acrimonious, multi-million-dollar affairs. Turns out money causes problems! [Financial Times via LAT via DealBreaker]
• CNBC commentator Ron Insana has at least thirteen managers seeding his new fund-of-funds. [Deal Journal/WSJ]
• Insider trading: It’s not just for greedy Americans anymore. [NYT]
Mama Don’t PreachMadonna won’t let her daughter dress like, well, Madonna. The U.N. campus has a pretty serious rodent-and-eel problem. Rockefeller Center and Chrysler Building owner Jerry Speyer is proficient with a yo-yo. Oscar presenter Jerry Seinfeld has been asked to host the Oscars next year but can’t because of a movie obligation. “The Secret” is Hollywood’s new Scientology/Kabbalah. Martha Stewart just bought an unfinished apartment in the West Village for $16 million. Someone stole one of Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel dresses and sent it to Courtney Love to wear. Kathie Lee Gifford has as soft spot for Britney Spears, though her son fancies Paris. Mark Ruffalo is far nicer to the press than he needs to be.
Maria Bartiromo Feels Pretty, Oh So PrettyBefore Maria Bartiromo was on MSNBC and flying on private jets, she lived a life out of West Side Story. Speaking of Bartiromo, Citigroup head Charles Prince may have leaked the jet-ride scandal to the media. Former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos uploaded some unintentionally funny government-propaganda films to YouTube. Financier Henry Kravis complained that he wasn’t invited to Stephen Schwarzman’s blowout birthday party. Brad and Angelina needed beads and masks to escape from a New Orleans restaurant.
CNBC Backs Anchor Maria BartiromoMEDIA
• The story of the jet-fueled relationship between ex-Citigroup exec Todd Thompson and CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo has turned from a snowball into an avalanche. [WSJ]
• Newspapers eliminated about 1,500 positions in 2006, an improvement over 2005, when 2,500 scribes took a walk. [E&P]
• Putting scratch-and-sniff ads in the Wall Street Journal actually makes us less inclined to read a newspaper. [AdAge]