Courtesy of FOX News

2.15 million: Nightly viewers of the primetime block on FNC -- the No. 1 news network for 12 consecutive years

Why he matters: With a successful (and rare) revamping of the dominant cable news net's primetime block in October, the chief has improved his flagship's showings in the 9 and 10 p.m. hours as MSNBC and CNN continue to wrestle for a distant second place (even combined they're bested by a margin of more than 2 million total viewers). The 73-year-old also made a star out of Megyn Kelly, who has staged a successful segue from daytime, and is trying to bolster Fox Business Network, notably by poaching Maria Bartiromo from CNBC.

Goal for next year: "To improve the Fox Business Network, maintain the growth of the Fox News Channel and to improve news in the local stations owned by Fox," says Ailes. "Whatever success I've had is because I do hire good people. This whole change in the primetime lineup, that was dangerous, slightly difficult, yet every single decision we made we won."