Media industry website Mediaite reported Friday that “conservative fat cats” are considering the formation of a new conservative media outlet.
According to Mediaite’s report, the pace of the “serious discussions” has been picking up in the wake of rumors suggesting additional changes are in store at Fox News. A source reportedly told Mediaite that “two prominent high-powered television executives, some underperforming conservative networks and people who have an interest and the ability to fund a new network” are meeting Friday to discuss creating a rival to Fox News.
The group is concerned that Fox News is moving too far left and that an alternative to the conservative media powerhouse would be well received by audiences angry with the television network’s new direction.
On Thursday, Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine reported a “management shake-up” could be in the works at Fox News. Sources close to Bill Shine, co-president at Fox News, told New York Magazine that James Murdoch, the news network’s CEO, and Lachlan Murdoch, the co-chairman, were unwilling to issue a statement backing Shine after Shine requested the Murdochs provide a public show of support.
In reaction to the report, Fox News host Sean Hannity wrote on Twitter Thursday afternoon: “Gäbe i pray this is NOT true because if it is, that’s the total end of the FNC as we know it. Done. Best Sean.”
On Friday, The Hollywood Reporter’s Marisa Guthrie reported the Murdoch family, including Rupert, has “quietly put out feelers” for a replacement for Shine, and Guthrie says the Murdochs are actively seeking a woman to take the lead role.
If Shine is replaced, it’s possible Hannity could be the next Fox News star to depart the network. Hannity has a long history with Shine, who once served as Hannity’s producer before working his way up to one of the top positions at the network.
An unnamed television executive who claims to be involved in the talks to form a new network told Mediaite he doesn’t believe Hannity and Fox News will have “a long relationship.”
“I just don’t see Fox News and Sean having a long relationship,” the source said. “If Sean becomes available, you have 100 percent turnover in primetime and a huge opportunity.”