Fox News Leaders Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine Sign Multiyear Deals
Fox News co-presidents Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine are staying put, with the duo inking multiyear deals to remain at the network.
Shine and Abernethy were elevated in August after the ouster of CEO Roger Ailes amid sexual harassment allegations spurred by Gretchen Carlson's lawsuit against Ailes. The company recently settled with Carlson for $20 million and also settled several additional claims for undisclosed amounts, according to sources.
Both men are veteran Fox executives. Shine has been at the network since its inception in 1996 and was Ailes' de facto No. 2. He was previously in charge of the network's top-rated primetime opinion programs. He now oversees all programming and editorial. Abernethy, who has long been in charge of Fox's television stations division, now also oversees business operations at Fox News.
“Jack and Bill have been instrumental in Fox News’ continued dominance in the ratings and historic earnings performance," Rupert Murdoch said Wednesday in a statement. "I am delighted they’ve each signed new deals, ensuring stability and leadership to help guide the network for years to come.”
The announcement came just hours after 21st Century Fox executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch made a series of comments defending Fox News, and criticizing rivals such as MSNBC and CNN. Murdoch said he saw no reason for Shine or Abernethy to emulate either of those networks. Fox News, he said, should not "follow a failed strategy rather than stick with the winning strategy."
He said his father, who has been interim CEO of Fox News since Ailes stepped down in July amid allegations of sexual misconduct, is the perfect choice, given he has spent more time there than any other executive has in the past two years. "He's got more energy and ideas than ever," Murdoch said at an investor conference in Beverly Hills. He added FNC has been the No. 1 cable news channel for 176 straight months.
The move signals that there is no rush to name a permanent CEO. The elder Murdoch continues to be very much engaged in the day-to-day at Fox News; he's a regular presence at Fox News headquarters on Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan and he continues to run the 9:30 a.m. editorial meeting.