Roger Ailes’ ouster from Fox News has created new challenges at the network, according to a new report by New York magazine, which is now contending with a shift in leadership and will in months to come may have to work to keep its primetime lineup intact. The shocking episode was spurred, according to the report, by more than a year of inappropriate remarks made by Ailes to former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, who taped her conversations with the executive on her iPhone and then filed a lawsuit.
The New York report offered new details of Gretchen Carlson’s efforts to fight back against a culture in which Ailes’ harassing remarks had become the norm: “She settled on a simple strategy: She would turn the tables on his surveillance. Beginning in 2014, according to a person familiar with the lawsuit, Carlson brought her iPhone to meetings in Ailes’s office and secretly recorded him saying the kinds of things he’d been saying to her all along. ‘I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago, and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better. Sometimes problems are easier to solve’ that way, he said in one conversation. ‘I’m sure you can do sweet nothings when you want to,’ he said another time.”
The report suggested Carlson may soon announce an eight-figure settlement in her legal battle. Ailes has in the recent past denied all charges against him levied by her and other women. A spokesman for Carlson’s attorneys declined to comment on the report.
Since Ailes’ ouster, 21st Century Fox has set executive chairman Rupert Murdoch at the top of both Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network and elevated Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy to supervise programming and business operations as co-presidents. The New York report suggested the parent company is likely to bring in a new executive to take over for the elder Murdoch whose sons, James and Lachlan, are more involved with the day to day operations of the media conglomerate. Potential candidates for the job might include everyone from Jesse Angelo, publisher of the New York Post, Rebekah Brooks, a longtime News Corp. UK executive; NewsMax CEO Christopher Ruddy; or an outsider, the report suggested.
Meanwhile, Fox News faces talent challenges in 2017. Bill O’Reilly, one of the network’s main draws, has suggested in interviews he might consider retiring, while a contract for Megyn Kelly, the 9 p.m. anchor, elapses next year.