Fox Business Channel 35242
Are things going downhill fast at Fox News Channel’s media relations department, just as they’re trying to generate positive buzz for today’s launch of Fox Business Channel?
Michael Murphy, a senior staffer at FNC’s D.C. bureau, just walked off the job — following director Leah Yoon and regular spokesman Darin Johnson. For what it’s worth, Michael emails us to say that he’s “leaving on great terms,” and, “I’m leaving to actually relocate home and be with my family at this time for personal reasons.” Mainstay publicist Dana Klinghoffer, however, remains — as some of your pitch-filled inboxes can attest to.
Which begs the question: Just what state of mind is Irena Briganti in these days? Which is sort of a silly question, we know.
Rebecca Dana asks Roger Ailes if there’s anyone from CNBC he’d like to hire for the Fox Business Network. His reply: “I’m the one who put Maria Bartiromo on the air. She’s a fine talent. This new woman that they’re overusing because she’s on now 15 hours a day, Erin Burnett, is a good talent. But she’s gonna age. She’ll only last another year, the way they’re working her. …So, I hope, at some point she steps up and says, ‘I need water; I need a little break here.’”
What we’ve learned…after the jump.
Whether those rumors about the Fox Business Channel considering making a takeover bid for CNBC’s Erin Burnett are true. A source connected to the Fox camp hints yes; a CNBC source has “no knowledge” of it. Fox is said to have already made a play for Maria Bartiromo, but her current contract kept her from realistically considering the option.
In a decent interview (we just talked about) with NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker, The Hollywood Reporter posed this hypothetical: “Rupert Murdoch could acquire the Wall Street Journal. If he integrates that with Fox Business Channel, what does that mean for CNBC?”
Now that Rupert has bought Dow Jones, let the fun begin in changing Jeff’s response from a “could acquire” to a “did acquire” situation. CONTINUED »
Former Post-it and TV hopeful-cum-Fortune scribe Tim Arango is on the case of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Business Channel today. He’s chock full of details – $100 million budget for launch; October debut; 300 new hires for the network – that will likely be shot down by News Corp. as inaccurate and premature.
There’s much focus on the $100 million budget, however, deemed not-very-large by on-lookers. After all, News Corp. spent $400 million to launch FNC. And Conde Nast spent more than that just to launch a magazine.
And what’s new on the Bid For Dow Jones front? Supposedly, if the deal goes through, the business channel could use the Wall Street Journal’s name, but reporters couldn’t appear on the channel until after 2012, when the arrangement with CNBC expires. And when we’ll have concrete evidence whether the channel is a success or faces the fate of Trio.
Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Business Channel is a comin’ — in the fourth quarter of the year. Which isn’t exactly an “imminent” launch, but if you say it in August, it could be. As Mediaweek picked up yesterday and the WSJ expands on today, CNBC’s biggest competition is in the pipeline.
The new business channel will be overseen by Roger Ailes, the founder of Fox News Channel. Mr. Ailes, a former political consultant, built Fox News Channel during the past decade into a ratings powerhouse that has overtaken CNN in the ratings.
Fox News Channel’s business anchor, Neil Cavuto, will oversee the channel’s content and business news coverage. Fox News Executive Vice President Kevin Magee will run the channel’s day-to-day operations. And Alexis Glick, formerly of CNBC, will be on air and a director of business news.
But perhaps the most significant angle of the new channel comes straight from Murdoch’s own mouth: FBC will be “a little bit more business friendly,” and only cover a scandal when it’s a story. Naturally, that can be interpreted to mean News Corp. scandals are automatically non-stories, as are the embroilments of Friends of Murdoch. But that whole Citibank-Maria Bartiromo debacle? Definitely a story, right Fox?
For some, no news is good news. For us, no news bores us to an early death. Sorta like the one Lindsay Lohan is bringing upon herself. But let’s get serious here: We’re talking about the Fox Business Channel, the CNBC competitor from Rupert Murdoch that, clearly, doesn’t have an “imminent” launch that the Wall Street Journal claimed — but is arriving sometime in the next two lifetimes.
So, if not “imminent,” then when is FBC getting off the ground?
The latest bout of mixed signals came Wednesday, with Murdoch and [COO Peter] Chernin hinting that an announcement was close if not exactly imminent. Murdoch said during News Corp.’s latest quarterly earnings conference call that there will be an announcement “in the next week.” But Chernin seemed to back off a bit, saying that the announcement should happen “soon” but declining to be more specific.
Addressing the launch date, Murdoch tied it to the early fall, with Chernin saying only that it will happen “in the latter part of the calendar year.”
What Chernin didn’t tell you was which calendar year.
Oh, those two. Always joshin’ around with our hopes and dreams for a better future. Or at least another cable channel to hunt for between QVC HD and Fit TV.
Everyone – everyone! – is in a tizzy about just when this Fox Business Channel will launch. Sure, Rupert Murdoch just inked a deal with Time Warner that says – should the channel every launch – the cable operator will carry it into its 13 million homes. And already, News Corp. arranged with Comcast to bring the channel into the company’s 24 million homes. But still, there’s no biz channel.
Now if you’ve got a first-grade level of math, you’ll understand those two deals alone bring us to 37 million homes, or seven million more than the figure News Corp. has been saying it would require to even think about launching. All of which means two things: 1) Conde Nast’s Portfolio is already working on an in-depth piece; and 2) Business reporters far and wide are chomping to get on the bandwagon.
As we already saw, the Wall Street Journal’s Julia Angwin and her editor Richard Turner took a pounding on Fox News for their supposed haphazard and premature reporting on when the channel would launch (”imminent” was the word of choice), and then, just yesterday AdAge’s Claire Atkinson was prophesizing that “observers are predicting a midyear launch date, but in reality few people really know when the service might start. One observer suggested April 15 be a good time to begin.”
Sure, April 15 might be tax day, but also: It’s a Sunday. No business channel should be launching on the one day each week reserved for i-bankers to blow their bonuses.
Then again, this is the same Claire Atkinson who said that Fox “told folks they’re expecting the launch this month” — back in June.