Roger Ailes: “I’m Not Reacting to CNN and MSNBC”

Fox News chief sticks up for Geraldo Rivera

Roger Ailes
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Fox News Channel chief Roger Ailes acknowledged Thursday he is on the verge of making changes to his top-rated network, but made clear primetime moves from the competition didn’t prompted any shifts.

“I’m not reacting to CNN and MSNBC,” said Ailes, indicating he was aware that CNN did some rescheduling with Anderson Cooper earlier in the week but not motivated by it.

“My near-term plans are to put my competitors out of business completely,” added Ailes  in a Q&A at parent company 21st Century Fox’s “investor day” with Neil Cavuto.

His rationale for the unspecified shifts: “One of my jobs is to get the best audience flow between shows and that’s one of the reason I’m making a few changes right now,” he said.

He didn’t tip his hand as to whether reports of Megyn Kelly replacing Sean Hannity are true, but he indicated changes are afoot at the top-rated news network.

“I don’t confirm or deny any rumors, and that is a rumor at the moment,” said Ailes, referring to a report made earlier in the day by Drudge Report. But he did clearly suggest Hannity isn’t leaving the channel.

“All of our stars will be back,” Ailes vowed.  “Hannity is a brand that many of our viewers love and want to see, and as you know, is one of the nicest guys in the building.”

Ailes even stuck up for Geraldo Rivera in the wake of a controversial tweet he made last month showing off his naked torso, which the anchor later admitted he did under the influence of tequila. Crediting Rivera for racing to Bora Bora to cover “before CNN ever got there,” he also couldn’t resist a joke.

“Naked pictures when you’re drunk are still stupid,” he said.