Australian newspaper mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. acquired Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. in 1985 and the following year purchased Metromedia’s six TV stations in the U.S., which formed the basis of the Fox Network.
Aggressive marketing, edgy entertainment programs, and gritty reality shows have been hallmarks of the Fox Network’s game plan.
Garth Ancier says Murdoch’s support of Barry Diller was crucial to the network’s success.
“Rupert’s faith was in Barry Diller,” Ancier says. “I think what Rupert brought to the party was an understanding of how reality programming worked, from all of his experience in news and journalism. Rupert Murdoch does know how to get people to read a newspaper. His expertise certainly led to launching current affairs and reality-oriented programs on the New York station, WNYW, and then that led to some major Fox success later on.”
Reality shows were a new concept at the time. “Reality programs were not really considered as programs you’d put on in primetime until Fox came along,” Ancier says. “You might see them in syndication, but you wouldn’t see them on a network basis.”