FBN, CNBC compete for guests

Booking war has networks scrambling for 'gets'

The launch of Roger Ailes‘ Fox Business Network is a little more than two weeks away, but the booking war with CNBC is already in full swing.

Ailes is a believer in the big “get” for the first week — Fox News landed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the day the network launched in 1996 — and that’s got CNBC scrambling.

Vacations by on-air talent for October are banned, and producers and correspondents are racing to land high-profile talking heads for the week of Oct. 15, when Fox Biz goes live.

CNBC is said to have made a play for uber-investor Warren Buffett, who declined. Liz Claman, the TV journo closest to the Oracle from Omaha, left CNBC in July — and may turn up at Fox Biz after her non-compete agreement expires … on Oct. 15.

Former GE chief and “Winning” author Jack Welch is also off the table. An assistant says he’s received requests, but is traveling that week and unlikely to appear.

Also in demand: Steve Jobs.Fox Biz producers, meanwhile, are combing business and academia for talking heads and trying to head off any awkward expectations.

A memo from a Fox Biz producer obtained by Variety reveals some uncharacteristic self-loathing in the trenches: Titled “Want to be on TV?” the memo reassures: “Political affiliation is unimportant and all interviews will be highly professional (in case you’re worried about the Fox style.)”

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