The broadcasting world was rocked this morning when News Corporation and Viacom announced that Fox News would be sold to Viacom in a deal said to approach $5 billion in both cash and stock. Reached in London, Rupert Murdoch said that Fox News was on a trajectory that was in conflict with two of his prime holdings, the Wall Street Journal and HarperCollins publishing.
"The association with Fox News was making it tougher to recruit top talent for the Journal. I got tired of Gigot's endless complaining and basically did it to shut him up."
Paul Gigot is Editorial Page Editor of the Wall Street Journal and did not return our calls for comment.
Fox News is owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of Murdoch's News Corporation. Fox's top stars include Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, all of whom would presumably be bound by contract to stay with the network in spite of the change of ownership.
Judy McGrath, CEO of Viacom's MTV networks said she would be dropping Fox News into MTV's Comedy Channel portfolio. "It's a great fit for us. Between Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report on one hand and Glenn Beck on the other, we'll have a full-spectrum offering."
Asked what she might need to do in order to make Fox News a better fit with the Comedy Channel formula, McGrath replied, "Absolutely nothing."
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