Six months after Rupert Murdoch launched a business network set to take out the peacock with the same tenacity that Fox News tromped CNN, quite the opposite has happened: CNBC has instead emerged stronger from the competition. Fox Business Network (FBN) declined to make any executives available to interview for this story, but at a recent media conference, while talking about increasing distribution for the channel, Murdoch said, "We've got to get to 60 million homes, and then Roger can really blast CNBC." He was speaking of Roger Ailes, the swaggering TV exec who ran CNBC for six years before decamping to News Corp. to launch Fox News, then FBN.
"You never pull the trigger until you know that you can win," Ailes told attendees at a New York media breakfast in 2005. His charges were equally cocky. On FBN's first day on the air, stocks editor Liz MacDonald reported live from the side of a highway in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. - just across from CNBC headquarters. If you tuned in, you couldn't have missed the sarcasm in her voice as she referred to Jersey as "sleepy" and "bucolic," saying, "It's hunting season, and we hear that peacocks are in season."