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Fox News Chief Roger Ailes Shopping Book; Could Get Huge $4 Million Advance (Report)

Roger Ailes
Peter Kramer/Getty Images

The TV executive is said to be represented by Washington lawyer Robert Barnett, who has become one of the country’s most powerful book agents with a client list that includes Bill and Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush and Barbra Streisand.

Fox News chief Roger Ailes is shopping an autobiography to be co-written with Fox News contributor James Pinkerton, according to a report in New York magazine.

Publishing sources say Ailes could get an advance as high as $4 million for his memoirs.

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Ailes is said to be represented by Washington lawyer Robert Barnett, who has become one of the country’s most powerful book agents with a client list that includes Bill and Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush and Barbra Streisand. When contacted by The Hollywood Reporter, Barnett e-mailed that he had “no comment” on the report. Pinkerton said that “nothing is official yet,” and a Fox spokesperson called the report “speculation.”

It is unclear how much dirt Ailes would be willing to dish in a memoir. A $4 million advance suggests Ailes is promising to reveal much about the rise of Fox News and the network’s stars. How Fox stars like Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly would react to any criticism of them in their boss’ memoir is unclear. Although Ailes has long denied any interest in writing a memoir, friends say he is interested in burnishing his legacy and shaping how he is remembered by writing a book now.  

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The 71-year-old Ailes certainly has a lot to write about. After working at TV stations in Cleveland and Philadelphia, Ailes shaped media strategy for Richard Nixon’s successful 1969 presidential campaign. He also helped George H.W. Bush win the presidency in 1988. In 1996, at the behest of Rupert Murdoch, he created the Fox News Channel. Launched in just 17 million homes, Ailes turned Fox News into a ratings and profits powerhouse. In 2010, all 10 of the top-rated cables news shows in the adults 25-54 demographic were on Fox, and the channel is said to contribute more than $700 million a year to News Corp.'s operating profits -- more than CNN, MSNBC and the Big Three networks combined.