You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Rupert Murdoch Says He Wants Megyn Kelly, Bill O’Reilly to Stay at Fox News

Keeping Megyn Kelly at Fox News is a top priority for Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of the cable-news outlet’s parent company, 21st Century Fox – but he’d like her to express a similar sentiment.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal in an interview, the media mogul said he is eager to keep Kelly at the network, but noted “we have a deep bench of talent, many of whom would give their right arm for her spot.” Kelly, the Journal said, is seeking a salary of more than $20 million a year, compared with what is said to be $15 million in the last year of a contract slated to expire in July of 2017. That amount would put her salary on par with that of Bill O’Reilly, who Murdoch said he also wanted to keep. O’Reilly’s contract is believed to last through next year. The executive said money was not an issue in the company’s talks with Kelly and her representatives at Creative Artists Agency.

A spokeswoman for the anchor could not be reached for comment. A Fox News spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

Murdoch’s comments are the strongest signal yet that his company does not intend to make significant programming changes at Fox News Channel despite the recent departure of the network’s architect Roger Ailes. Ailes, the former chairman and CEO of Fox News, left the company in July after multiple women made allegations that he harassed them sexually. Ailes denied the charges, but the parent company ousted him after an internal probe drew accusations from female Fox News employees.

“We’re not changing direction,” Murdoch said in the interview. Doing so, he added, “would be business suicide.” The Fox News unit accounts for approximately 20% of the parent company’s operating income.

Fox News does have one looming challenge on its schedule: What to do with its 7 p.m. hour, which veteran anchor Brit Hume is filling temporarily until Election Day. Hume returned to a regular slot at the network in September after Greta Van Susteren opted to leave after trying to negotiate a new contract with Fox News spurred by the presence of a clause in her pact that allowed her to leave if Ailes were to depart.

Keeping O’Reilly and Kelly, however, is the more urgent matter. The two anchors outdraw their competitors significantly in viewership. Kelly, a former attorney who has a widely anticipated book set to come out on November 15, is of particular interest because she views herself as more of a journalist than a pundit and has proven herself willing to question Republican policies and lawmakers. Sean Hannity, who anchors Fox News’ 10 p.m. slot, has supported Republican candidate Donald Trump through his many travails in the election cycle. Kelly is viewed as a someone who might help Fox News maintain its appeal to a younger generation of Republican viewers that has different views on matter of gender, race and class. O’Reilly, meanwhile is one of cable’s most durable draws of audience, even with 20 years on the air under his belt.

Murdoch said he hopes to work out a new agreement with Kelly “very soon,” but said, “it’s up to her.” There has been much speculation in recent months that Kelly might fit in well at Time Warner’s CNN or even at Walt Disney’s ABC News, where she might prove an interesting presence on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Whether the nation’s news aficionados might welcome her in those roles remains to be seen. A recent celebrity-interview special that aired on the Fox broadcast network underwhelmed, and there has not been new word from Fox News whether Kelly would continue to produce those programs. Under a plan unveiled in 2015, Kelly was to have done a series of specials in which she would interview newsmakers and celebrities. She suggested she hoped to emulate Barbara Walters.

But Kelly continues to make a splash. Earlier this week, an interview she conducted with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich lit up social media and morning talk shows.  The two sparred over whether or not Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is a sexual predator. Even CNN ran with that story – but referred to Kelly only as a “Fox News anchor” in on-screen graphics.


More TV

  • How Mipcom is Adapting Through 'The

    How Mipcom is Adapting to Wider Content Offerings Through 'The Streaming Offensive'

    With the rise of streamers rapidly changing the television industry, it was inevitable that the biggest TV market would have to address the evolution. A year after exploring the so-called big shift in television, the theme of this year’s Mipcom conference is the Streaming Offensive, with sessions from speakers including Amazon Studios’ head of international [...]

  • Ronan Farrow Noah Oppenheim

    NBC News Rebukes Ronan Farrow: 'We Have No Secrets'

    The president of NBC News pushed back on some of the explosive claims made by journalist Ronan Farrow Monday, calling into question an allegation that the NBCUniversal news outlet knew about sexual misconduct by former “Today” anchor Matt Lauer before he was fired in 2017. “Farrow alleges there were employees who reported Lauer’s behavior prior [...]

  • Riviera and Das Boot Sky TV

    Inside Sky Studios' Plan to Be the 'Biggest European TV Producer'

    Comcast forked out $40 billion for Sky and is now backing its CEO Jeremy Darroch’s plan to turbo-charge its pipeline of originals. It has created Sky Studios and will double its programming outlay in a plan that insiders tell Variety will see it spend £1 billion ($1.2 billion) a year on original programming within five [...]

  • Jason Flemyng, Casting Director Lucinda Syson

    Jason Flemyng, Lucinda Syson Launch Film and TV Indie The Kernel Factory (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jason Flemyng, fellow actor Ben Starr, casting director Lucinda Syson, and finance expert Cristiano D’Urso are opening The Kernel Factory, a new U.K.-based film and TV indie. Flemyng has a long list of movie credits including “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” and Guy Ritchie’s “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking [...]

  • ITV Wins Pre-Sales for Mipcom Drama

    Pre-Sales for 'Noughts and Crosses' Lead Scripted Deals for ITV Studios at Mipcom

    ITV Studios Global Entertainment has racked up pre-sales for its leading Mipcom title “Noughts and Crosses”, and has unveiled a number of other deals on its drama slate. “Noughts and Crosses” has been acquired by M-Net in Africa, Russia’s More TV, TVNZ in New Zealand and on BBC First across Benelux prior to its launch [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content