News

Ailes Re-ups at Fox

10/08/2000 8:00 PM Eastern

Roger Ailes has signed up for another stint as chairman and CEO of Fox News, with a new contract that extends through January 2004, officials said last week.

Under the new three-year deal, Ailes will continue to oversee Fox News Channel, which reaches more than 54 million households, and becomes the executive editor of FOXNews.com.

In that new capacity, Ailes will be responsible for the design and editorial content of the Web site, ensuring continuity for the Fox News brand and product.

A veteran Republican strategist and political consultant, Ailes has been at FNC since February 1996. Prior to that, he was head of CNBC and America's Talking, which became MSNBC.

Ailes said he opted to stay on FNC because its "mission is only half completed." The network still needs to increase its distribution and to continue making headway against archrival Cable News Network, he said.

"We haven't beaten CNN entirely yet," Ailes said. "We've closed in on them..Larry King still does well against us. But we've created more franchise shows in four years than CNN has in 20."

CNN, which has seen a huge ratings falloff in the past few years, recently made major management changes that sent president Rick Kaplan packing. FNC, however, has seen its audience grow under Ailes' tenure.

"CNN has had a rich history, but it's been a total monopoly," Ailes said. "They never had competition. It will go through a shakeout."

Ailes said he enjoys having competition from a savvy rival such as CNN and its chairman, Tom Johnson, whom Ailes described as a "skillful, dynamic leader."

On the programming front, FNC will look to produce more specials and improve its breaking-news coverage, Ailes said.

With respect to his Internet role, Fox News had a need to centralize the delivery of its editorial content across various platforms, Ailes said. Despite current cutbacks at dot-com companies-with laid-off employees "looking like evacuees from a natural disaster"-Ailes said the Web business is a healthy one, with areas poised for tremendous growth.

Ailes will also continue to serve as senior advisor to News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch.

"I like working for News Corp.," he said. "I like working with people that are smarter than me, like Rupert Murdoch, [News Corp. president] Peter Chernin and [Sky Global Networks Inc. CEO] Chase Carey. I learn something new every day."

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