With Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes in talks to leave over sexual harassment allegations
, talk has turned to who will replace him as head of the top-rated cable news network and whether changes will be made to how it is run.
that names floating around include several current Fox News executives.
Among them, Bill Shine, who oversees Fox News' prime-time and opinion programs, and Jay Wallace, who heads up news and daytime coverage. Fox News Executive Editor and Executive Vice President John Moody is also seen as a top contender, according to Politico, as well as Michael Clemente, who recently began overseeing special projects.
Clemente, Politico notes, is close to James and Lachlan Murdoch, son of News Corporation head Rupert Murdoch, who now would have an ability to exert more control over Fox News.
Politico quotes a "senior TV news executive" as saying neither Shine nor Clemente are likely to take the top job.
Many might not even want the job replacing a man they were close to considering the reason for his departure, Politico reports. And there is talk of bringing in an outsider — at least on a temporary basis.
The 76-year-old Ailes recently signed a multi-year contract extension, so there was no clear line of succession already set up, Forbes reports
. And, Forbes writes, it is much more likely that Ailes' duties would be split among several people.
Besides all that, there is the issue of whether Fox News would continue in its current format under new leadership. Though daytime programming — and some hosts such as prime time's Megyn Kelly — are seen as more fair to all sides, other top hosts such as Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity have made their name by being opinionated.
Should James Murdoch have more say, he might want to take the channel more in the model of News Corporation property Sky News in the United Kingdom, which he also leads. British broadcast laws require more fairness in news presentation.
If Fox News hosts leave amid the changes, that could change the landscape as well. The Financial Times reported that Hannity, O'Reilly and Greta Van Susteren have contracts that allow them to leave
immediately if Ailes leaves. But any talk of a walkout to support Ailes has been only speculation.
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