Shine's Murdoch dismisses News Corp. talk

Plans to focus on further shaping Shine Group

LONDON -- Shine Group boss Elisabeth Murdoch appeared to rule herself out in the much-discussed matter of News Corp.'s succession plans Monday, saying that she could not see a future when she was not shaping the international producer/distributor she founded in 2001.

"I'm at the beginning of a journey with Shine. How that plays out I don't know but I'm never going to leave it behind ... I don't think there is necessarily a next from Shine," she said in an interview with the Guardian newspaper Monday. "It is my vehicle, it's representative of me. I never want to not be part of it."

Although she dismissed as "inappropriate" any discussion of a family plan to take over the running of News Corporation, the 41-year-old's success at growing Shine into a major international media company has inevitably led to speculation that she may eventually play a larger role within News Corporation, where she was general manager at News Corp.-owned BSkyB before quitting in 2001.

Last year, Shine -- which also owns Reveille and Kudos -- expanded into the France, Australia, Germany and the Nordic territories with a slew of acquisitions and start-ups giving it production bases in multiple territories. The group has produced such notable hits as "Life on Mars" and "The Biggest Loser."

Although she declined a role on the News Corp. board 18 months ago, she instead took the role as a boardroom observer -- a role which does not impact Shine's ability to pitch to all the networks.

"It keeps me abreast of what's going on," she says. "We are a close family and supportive [of each other] and we can talk in full knowledge afterwards. You know, it just keeps you plugged in to what's going on," she told the newspaper.

Murdoch revealed that when her PR husband Matthew Freud issued a devastating criticism of Fox News, she had emailed Fox News head Roger Ailes saying that her spouse had "gone rogue" and said "[Fox] is a huge achievement as a business. I don't agree with everything in the political commentary but I'm a very big supporter of the achievements you've had," the paper reported, adding that Murdoch had joked "I was too scared to phone him [Ailes]."

Murdoch, who has four children and two step-children, recently raised over £54,000 for the U.K. charity Cancer Research, by competing in a charity horse race at Cheltenham Race Course. Donors to her cause included BBC director General Mark Thompson, who gave £1000, Working Title co-founder Eric Fellner, who donated £2500, and her mother Anna Murdoch Mann.

But the biggest donation entered on the website -- for £5000 -- came from News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, who wrote: "Darling Liz, Hold on tight! I will be watching closely. Love Dad."