WHY HE MATTERS The dominant cable news network for more than a decade, Ailes’ Fox News funnels billions into the coffers of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. SNLKagan estimates the channel will earn $2.18 billion this year, the bulk of it from ad revenue and subscriber fees, dwarfing the potential of CNN ($1.16 billion) and MSNBC ($509 million). In fact, Ailes, 74, no longer views those networks as rivals. “We’re competing with TNT and USA and ESPN,” he says. Indeed, in February Fox News was the most-watched network in all of cable in primetime. And for the first quarter of 2015, the net jumped 10 percent in primetime among viewers 25-to-54, the demo most desired by advertisers.
CAREER HIGH POINT “When we finally beat CNN [January 2002], that was good because they had made fun of us along with The New York Times and other people. So it’s always good to actually land the airplane.”
CAREER LOW POINT “When I was [producing] The Mike Douglas Show, I knew every star in the business. I had a room in the Beverly Hills Hotel. I was living pretty good and was 28 years old. When I left the show, I couldn’t get people to return my phone calls.”
SURPRISE TV PICK “So You Think You Can Dance. I flip to MSNBC occasionally to make sure their blind pig didn’t find an acorn. But they never have once. I tell you who I do like at MSNBC — I like Joe and Mika. I don’t watch much CNN, they got out of the news business in primetime. But I look to see if they have a good documentary or movie. If they do, I’ll watch that.”
PEOPLE IN HOLLYWOOD ... “are hopelessly misguided. Amy Pascal said talent is a bottomless pit of need, and that covers everybody out there. They think they’ll stand out and do better by criticizing the institutions and values that made the country great. I like Hollywood people. But they need a history lesson.”