Murdochs' Relationship Deteriorating After Phone Hacking Scandal (Report)

All in the Family
Bernard Gotfryd/Getty Images

Murdoch with his second wife, Anna, and their children in New York in 1977. Children from left: Elizabeth (then age 9), Lahlan (6) and James (5).

Rupert allegedly told his son James, “You're coming back to New York, or you're out.”

Who if anyone from the Murdoch family will succeed Rupert as head of News Corp. is becoming increasingly unclear, according to extensive interviews conducted by the New York Times.

Although James Murdoch has long been the favorite to succeed his father, his involvement in the News of the World phone hacking scandal has made this less certain. Rupert's eldest son Lachlan has chosen to focus on his own media holdings in Australia. Daughter Elisabeth sold her Shine Ltd. production company to News Corp. earlier this year for $675 million but did not join News Corp.'s board and has not indicated any interest in succeeding her father. 

“Rupert always thought of News Corp. as a family company because it had been given to him,” Barry Diller says in the article, adding, “It had been given to him through a tiny newspaper in Adelaide, but nevertheless it was his father’s company. I think that meant to him that tradition should continue. If, as he’s always said, his children were worthwhile.”

James continues to live in London, despite an apparent order from his father to relocate: "You're coming back to New York, or you're out," Rupert reportedly told his son, who oversees News Corp.'s European and Asian operations from across the pond.

The most apparent choice for an immediate successor is chief operating officer Chase Carey, who is expected to take over in the interim for Rupert Murdoch at the point he no longer is able or wishes to continue. However, whether Carey would be the permanent CEO, or whether that seat must be occupied by a Murdoch, remains to be seen.