Fox News firms up Ailes’ army

Berg to oversee news at Fox stations group

Fox News chief Roger Ailes drew the Fox local stations further under his wing Monday by naming a close deputy to a newly created position that will oversee news at the Fox Television Stations Group.

Longtime Fox News Channel executive Sharri Berg will assume control of news operations for the 35-station group and 20th Television, in addition to her role as head of news operations for Fox News.

Creation of the post is the latest move for Ailes, who assumed control of News Corp.’s 35 television stations when he was made chairman of the group in July.

Among his first steps was to cancel “A Current Affair,” which was produced out of Twentieth Television, and replace it with “Geraldo at Large,” to be produced by Fox News Channel staff in New York.

As senior VP of news operations for the stations group, Berg will spearhead collaboration and synergies between the top-rated cable news outlet and the local news ops run by the local stations, as well as nonfiction programming coming out of Twentieth TV.

“I have worked closely together with Sharri since the launch of Fox News and have witnessed her leadership and expertise at every level,” Ailes said in a statement. “I’m confident her talent, dedication and experience makes her a natural fit in heading up the operations at Fox Television Stations.”

Berg will report to stations group CEO Jack Abernethy, also a longtime Ailes confidant.

Under Ailes, the group has accelerated development of new shows that would air on local Fox stations.

Twentieth Television is working on a talkshow that could air at 9 a.m. on local stations, and the net is testing other nonfiction pilots.

Ailes also is moving the executive staff of the stations group from Los Angeles to New York.

Berg has been with Fox News from the start in 1996 and watched it build from an also-ran to the dominant cable news network.

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