There may be some tinkering within the programs themselves, but don’t expect any big changes in Fox News Channel’s lineup under the watch of Bill Shine.
Shine — promoted last week to senior vice president of programming from vice president of production, a position he had held at the cable-news ratings leader since 2003 — said, “We’re going to continue the things that have made us successful. Our lineup is solid, we want to keep that consistency.”
With Fox News since its 1996 inception, Shine said no major changes are planned, but there would be some “tweaking. We want to try some new ideas within the shows. Our goal is that these improvements will ultimately lead to improved ratings.”
Fox News Channel had 11 of the 12 highest-rated programs in cable news last year and again easily topped Cable News Network as the overall Nielsen leader in 2004. Moreover, Fox News, which averaged nearly 1.7 million viewers in primetime, surpassed the total of CNN, MSNBC and CNN Headline News combined a year ago, according to Nielsen Media Research data.
But won’t it be tough to measure up to its delivery performance in 2004, which benefited from the presidential election cycle? “I don’t think so. It’s different with the election in that you could plan some opportunities, rather than working with the unknown. There’s always news; you never know what’s going to happen.”
Asked if Fox planned to bulk up its base of international correspondents to provide better early coverage of big news stories abroad like the devastating Asian tsunami, Shine replied: “That’s really a question for [senior vice president of editorial] John Moody. He’s responsible for the reporters and editors. But to answer the question, I don’t expect to see anything new on that front.”
Shine declined to react to the changes afoot at CNN aimed at emphasizing reporting and human-interest stories rather than opinion-oriented shows, a format favored by Fox News. “We respect all competitors. We keep an eye on what they’re doing, but we’re comfortable with where we are.”