Roger Ailes Is Chesty, Related to Lucifer. Maybe.Many of you may not know Dan Cooper. He’s a sort-of-disgruntled former employee of the Fox News Channel who worked through its launch in 1996 and 1997 (according to his Website, he helped figure out how to get “truly local weather to be placed in a ‘bug’ in the corner of the screen”). He’s been writing a book about the experience, called Naked Launch, which is apparently pretty scathing to FNC co-creator Roger Ailes. Jossip hears that he’s about to set part of his criticism on his Website later today, including this gem:
The best thing that ever happened to Roger Ailes was 9/11. Even Roger Ailes, Machiavellian as he was, couldn’t have dreamed up anybody as fabulous as Usama bin Laden (Allah told Roger to spell it Usama), or UBL, as Fox News called him. Because somebody up there, or down there, loved Roger, 9/11 happened on his watch. It gave him the opportunity to throw gasoline on the bonfire he had already set to scorch and destroy traditional liberal values. For those of you under 50, the United States once had liberal values. There was even such a thing as liberal Republicans. That’s enough of that, because I know talking about the Devil’s spawn and blond big-boobed temptresses is far more interesting. But hang on a bit.
On 9/11 and Ailes, well, duh. But we kind of love Roger Ailes for what he’s done with the Fox Business Network of Joy and for being so unashamed about everything Foxy. Still, “Devil’s spawn” and “big-boobed temptresses”? We’d totally buy a book about him if it were written in the voice of Anne Rice!
Former Roger Ailes Confidant Dan Cooper is Ready to Spill Blood [Jossip]
CNBC and the ‘Times’: United Against Fox Business Network!Did anybody else notice the funny timing of the New York Times’ attack coverage of Fox Business Network? On January 4, Jacques Steinberg and Brian Stelter wrote a story called “Few Viewers for Infancy of Fox Business,” in which the two television writers tore down the new channel for getting only about 6,000 viewers during the day. “By contrast, Fox Business’s chief competitor, CNBC, attracted about 283,000 viewers each weekday,” the story explained, going on to accuse FBN of having “bravado” during their launch. “Thus far, at least, CNBC would seem to have easily eluded Fox’s crosshairs,” the writers cackle. The numbers were based on secret Nielsen ratings for the new channel that only CNBC and FBN had paid to receive. On the same day, there were several other stories on the topic, with less gleeful Schadenfreude. And since, in those stories, a Fox rep spoke with reporters, it’s probably a safe bet that they didn’t cooperate on the Times story. In other words, they probably didn’t leak the unpublished Nielsen ratings: CNBC most likely did. Now, it’s pretty easy to understand wanting Rupert Murdoch and Fox to fail. But the aggression in this story was put into a surprising new context yesterday when it was announced that CNBC and the New York Times are starting a content-sharing partnership that has been in the works for a while. From the Reuters story reporting the collaboration:
The deal also gives the Times and CNBC access to each other’s breaking business news as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp prepares to fight them both with the nascent Fox Business Network cable channel and the recently acquired Wall Street Journal.
Um, huh. Is it us, or does it seem like CNBC and the Times had already started fighting side by side?
Imus Sucker Punches BrokawMEDIA
• Don Imus on Tom Brokaw: “He is not the most courageous person I’ve ever met in my life. He’s not the guy I’d want to be in a foxhole with.” You see, Brokaw didn’t defend Imus when he was down-and-out because of the whole “nappy-headed-hos” incident. Resentment, now that takes courage! [NYP]
• Shocker: CNBC is actually scared shitless of Fox Business News. They’re now asking guests to choose sides, threatening to drop them if they dare to appear on Murdoch’s new down-home network. [Silicon Alley Insider]
• Veteran literary agent Lynn Nesbit wants a new publishing madman: “Even [former Simon & Schuster CEO] Dick Synder is a lot more colorful than [newly departed Simon & Schuster CEO] Jack Romanos, who is now gone. I mean, they had passion, they cared about literature. Even Dick, who’s not an intellectual. He cared. He was a madman … . Who is a madman now in publishing? … It was just different then.” Hi, Lynn, allow us to introduce you to our favorite publishing madwoman, Judith Regan. [Media Mob/NYO]
Happy Holidays, From the Fox Business NetworkWhen we received this card from the Fox Business Network today, our first instinct was to recoil in horror. Lord, have mercy! we said to ourselves (because sometimes the voice in our heads sounds a little like a southern grandmother). That pack of dogs is trying to tear that poor, defenseless Christmas tree limb from limb! Then we realized, They’re not dogs. They’re foxes! For Fox Business News! So does the tree then symbolize CNBC? Wow, that is sick. Look at that long, horrible tongue on that one — Oh. That’s not a tongue. That’s a…bugle? Finally, we got it: The foxes are supposed to be, like angels. Which makes the golden Fox Business logo at the top God? Then, slowly, we opened the card…
in other news
CNBC Asks: Fox Business Network Anchors, Hot or Not?Last week Portfolio’s Jeff Bercovici reported that CNBC says they’re not worried about Fox Business Network anymore. Crowed a CNBC press release:
During November when the stock market has swung wildly, viewers tuned to CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, for fast, accurate, actionable and unbiased business news. In measured ratings, CNBC had its best November in total viewers since 2000 in Business Day and its best November in the key adults 25-54 year-old demographic since 2003. It was also CNBC’s best month in Business Day programming in total viewers since August 2002.
Yet this week we find out they’re still clearly worried about something. On a routine viewer poll, the seven-year-old finance network asked respondents to rate how they feel about CNBC anchors and also FBN anchors. An FBN spokesman was quick to snap, “example number 252 of CNBC not being ‘worried’ about FBN,” reports Inside Cable News. Hm. We didn’t see the whole survey, but we think this is nothing out of the ordinary. Have you seen the hottie FBN anchors? If you had to monitor them as your competition all day, you’d want to play Chuck, Fuck or Marry too!
CNBC Wants to Know What You Think of FBN Talent [Inside Cable News via TVNewser/Mediabistro]
CNBC: Fox Business? What Fox Business? [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
Earlier: Fox Business Networl: Full of Foxes!
in other news
Rupert and Ted Dine À DeuxThis is just embarrassing. With five tabloid gossip columns in this city and countless gossip Websites, and it was L.A. Weekly’s Nikki Finke that spotted arch-rivals Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch out on a lunch date together? Okay, granted, it was at Turner’s restaurant, Ted’s Montana Grill, so probably nobody was really looking, but still. This is what the Finkster has to report:
Sources said to me that the lunch was requested by Turner (est worth $2.3 bil) in an effort to “bury the hatchet” with Murdoch (est worth $8.8 bil). It came just days after a GQ interview was published with the CNN founder blaming the Fox News Channel founder for helping get America into the Iraq mess and labeling it “Rupert’s war” — and FNC in response using air time to belittle and demean Turner as “off his rocker.” Now, Murdoch can use the Wall Street Journal and new Fox Business Channel to belittle and demean Turner as well. “Ted reached out in the hope to make nice to Rupert now that he’s the biggest media mogul in the world,” a Murdoch insider told me. Did it work? “Rupert doesn’t change anything. He still goes after anyone he wants.”
As we all know, Murdoch’s News Corp recently surpassed Time Warner as the globe’s largest media conglomerate. We’re guessing it was a testy lunch — for a brief run through of all the icky background between the two, see Finke’s piece. In the meantime, we are totally going to start lurking around the Olive Garden in Times Square. We just know that’s where Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell have been hanging out.
Ted and Rupert Break Bread Together [Deadline Hollywood Daily]
in other news
Fox Business Network’s ‘Happy Hour’ Not As Happy As You Might ThinkToday Jon Friedman wrote an uncomfortable open love poem to Fox Business Network’s Cody Willard. It begins thusly:
Late Thursday afternoonA tall, exuberant Cody WillardBounded into the Bull and Bear.The 35-year-old co-anchorSmacked the bartender’s palmThen wound up and high-fived a Fox technicianProducing a sudden, crackling, WHAP sound.
It goes on but we know it’s five o’clock and you guys are just trying to make it through the day, so we’ll let you off the hook. We bring it up, not because we disagree with Friedman’s worship of the FBN early-evening show, Happy Hour. In fact, we are fans. Last week we watched the show, and within one hour they had chef Rocco DiSpirito, skateboarder Tony Hawk, and porn star Savannah Samson as guests. How can you beat that? But we just want to make a point to all of those people who think they are watching a hot dude and dudette drink with celebrities and talk about the stock market: They’re not actually drinking. Even though the show is set at the Bull and Bear bar on Wall Street, co-host Rebecca Gomez told us at last week’s launch party that she drinks cranberry juice and Willard drinks Sprite on the air. Yeah, that’s right. Now we really have no idea where those FBN anchors get all that optimism.
Fox Business Network’s: Happy Hour Might Be a Breakout Hit [MarketWatch]
Earlier: Fox Business Network: Full of Foxes!
Will Dick Parsons Pull a Bloomberg?MEDIA
• 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]
in other news
Mel Brooks Hiding Concerns About ‘Young Frankenstein’?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
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.
Graydon Carter Never Gets Any CreditDavid 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’s Baby 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.
in other news
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]
Fox Business Network: It’s Gold!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.
Fox Business Network Is Having Fun! Also, Running Ads for CBNCGuess 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.
Fox Business Network: Still Painting the OfficesMEDIA
• 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]
in other news
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]
in other news
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.
Fox Business Network: Full of Foxes!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 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]
in other news
Get Yer Fox Business Channel, Cheap!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]