The top brass at Fox News hope to find a woman to take the lead at the embattled cable news network, according to a new report.
Two sources close to Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, who serve as CEO and co-chairman of Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, told The Hollywood Reporter that the family of executives would prefer to see a female at the helm of the news channel.
The report follows an article by New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, who indicated Fox’s management is looking to “shake up” the leadership in the wake of former host Bill O’Reilly’s ouster earlier this month after a series of sexual harassment allegations.
Pressure is now building within the network to dismiss Bill Shine, a 20-year Fox veteran whom Rupert Murdoch elevated to co-president alongside Jack Abernathy, following founding CEO Roger Ailes’ ouster last summer. Ailes' departure came after he was also confronted with multiple accusations of sexual harassment.
Shine operates the programming arm at Fox while Abernathy handles the business side of the network, including advertising, finance, and distribution. Shine’s name has appeared in multiple lawsuits against Fox, Ailes, and O’Reilly.
In one lawsuit, former Fox host Andrea Tantaros said that she complained about sexual harassment by Ailes and that Shine advised her not to lodge accusations against the former CEO. Most recently, Shine was reportedly an immovable defender of O’Reilly, whom he sided with last fall when former host Megyn Kelly complained to Fox executives over O'Reilly's publicly admonishment of her for speaking out about her personal experiences with Ailes’ alleged sexual harassment.
While some at Fox might be OK with getting rid of Shine, there are others — namely host Sean Hannity — who are unwaveringly committed to the co-president.
In fact, if Shine is dismissed, Hannity tweeted on Thursday that it would mean the “total end” of Fox. The conservative anchor followed that tweet with two others featuring the hashtags “#Istandwithbill” and “#Istandwithshine.”
While the Murdochs have not explicitly backed Shine, Rupert Murdoch did take him and Abernathy to lunch at Marea, a popular Central Park South eatery, earlier this week. The outing was seen as an indirect show of support for the embattled co-president.
Shine began his career at Fox in 1996 as the executive producer of the now-defunct show “Hannity & Colmes,” a program Hannity co-hosted with the late Alan Colmes.