Veteran programming executive Suzanne Scott was named chief executive of Fox News, part of the continuing reorganization of 21st Century Fox as it prepares to sell the bulk of its assets to Walt Disney Co. Scott will at present become the only female executive in charge of a major U.S. TV-news network.
She will report to Lachlan Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch, who will lead the recalibrated parent company. Fox News already generates a substantial part of 21st Century Fox’s finances and will perhaps be the largest financial contributor to the parent corporation should the proposed sale proceed. The elder Murdoch will continue to work as executive chairman of Fox News, which includes the operations of the Fox Business Network.
Scott will be the first female chief executive of the Fox News operations, and has worked on the programming side for years. She has been with Fox News since its launch in 1996, and has proved instrumental in developing programs and personalities at the network, which is known best for its primetime slate featuring Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson. “Her vision and innovation have helped create some of the most popular and lucrative primetime programs on cable and as we embark on the era of the proposed New Fox, I am confident that Suzanne’s leadership will ensure the dominance of both Fox News & FBN for years to come,” Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement.
Fox News said Jay Wallace would serve as president of the Fox News unit, as well as executive editor.
Jack Abernethy, who had been in place as co-president of the news unit, will continue as CEO of the company’s TV-stations group, which is expected to grow as the result of a recent deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. Fox has agreed to buy seven stations from the large local broadcaster. The seven stations are in markets including Seattle and Miami.
Scott started her career at Fox News as a programming assistant, having already served in a similar capacity at CNBC. She most recently has been involved in a reworking of the Fox News primetime lineup in the wake of Bill O’Reilly’s departure, and in expanding the number of live hours on the network each day. She has had a hand in creating programs such as “Outnumbered Overtime with Harris Faulkner,” “The Story with Martha MacCallum” and “The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino.”
Scott’s ascension means the majority of its top executives will be women. Fox News has emerged from a tumultuous period sparked by the revelation that its former top executive, Roger Ailes, had harassed current and former employees and that other instances of harassment had taken place at the company. 21st Century Fox reworked its human resources policies, its executive team, and, after O’Reilly’s departure, its primetime lineup in the aftermath. Ailes, who passed away in May of last year, denied the allegations.
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