When New York magazine reported that CNBC supremo Roger Ailes might ankle, it said it may be because he’s not up to the coming battle with CNN Financial, Ted Turner’s biz network slated to launch next January. However, Ailes has told associates one of the best negotiating points NBC brass has in convincing him to stay is that he wants to go mano a mano with CNN executive veep Lou Dobbs, who has been tapped to run CNN Financial.
It’s personal between the two, because the CNBC prexy tried to hire Dobbs away a couple of months ago, according to industry sources. “Ailes thought Dobbs was serious about coming over,” says a source. “But it now appears Dobbs was using CNBC for leverage to get a promotion (he was just upped from senior veep to executive veep) and get his own little network to run. At this point there’s nothing Ailes would like better than the opportunity to kick Dobbs’ ass.”
But the coming battle alone may not be enough to keep Ailes, who last week at a launch party for CNBC Asia put the chances of his staying at 50/50. Ailes declined to elaborate. However, NBC sources say Ailes negotiations are about more than just a raise. Ailes is squabbling over budgets for CNBC and sister channel America’s Talking. He also wants more control of CNBC’s international expansion, which now is firmly in the hands of Ailes’ rival, NBC Cable prexy Tom Rogers.
In addition, if NBC goes head to head with CNN with an all-news channel as it has threatened to do, Ailes wants assurances he will have the reins. Meanwhile, NBC News prexy Andy Lack has been quite vocally contending that he should be the guy at the top of any Peacock News channel.