Tags: Fox News | Media Bias | Roger Ailes | ouster | Bill Shine | Sean Hannity | Michael Wolff

Columnist Michael Wolff: Fox News Is 'Finished' After Bill Shine's Ouster

Image: Columnist Michael Wolff: Fox News Is 'Finished' After Bill Shine's Ouster
Former Fox News co-president Bill Shine (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

By    |   Tuesday, 02 May 2017 07:08 PM

Michael Wolff, columnist at The Hollywood Reporter, said Tuesday that Fox News was "finished" after Monday's ouster of co-president Bill Shine amid growing sexual harassment allegations – and host Sean Hannity could "walk . . . anytime."

"Fox is finished," Wolff told CNBC's "Squawk Box." "The Fox that we have known for 20 years is over.

"This represents a sort of cable blip," he said. "We're entering an entirely new era."

Shine, who was promoted with Jack Abernathy last July after founding Chairman Roger Alies resigned amid his own sexual harassment allegations, was the latest top-level departure at Fox in recent weeks.

Longtime host Bill O'Reilly was let go last month after The New York Times reported five women were paid as much as $13 million to settle lawsuits alleging harassment.

Both Ailes and O'Reilly have denied the allegations.

Shine, who Ailes hired shortly after founding Fox News in 1996, was among several top network executives named in a class-action lawsuit by a dozen current and former employees and contributors alleging racial discrimination.

In addition, former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros has alleged in a federal lawsuit Fox targeted both her and Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy in harassment campaigns on social media.

"Fox has been this incredibly successful product of how talent integrates with its audience," Wolff, Murdoch's biographer who is long known for his blunt style, told CNBC on Tuesday.

"This unique chemistry," he said. "All that chemistry is gone because all those people are gone.

"So, we are just left with a network that has a significant penetration, but no reason for people now to really watch it."

The changes began when Megyn Kelly left in January. She was one of Ailes' accusers.

"That was the tipping point," Wolff said, adding Hannity was next. "We will definitely lose Sean Hannity. If not today, if not in days, in months.

"So, we've lost all of the leadership of the network."

Hannity, who took to Twitter last week to vigorously defend Shine amid his rumored departure, may be under contract to Fox through 2020, Wolff said.

But, the Fox host can "walk . . . anytime," he said. "Yes."

Fox's new lineup cannot sustain the network's ratings, once anchored on O'Reilly's strength, and the cable channel now faces "an identity issue."

"You just have a falloff of his audience across the night," Wolff said. "So, now, you start with a lower baseline.

"You still have a business there. This is an identity issue.

"There will be other conservative channels, other conservative voices, coming in to this mix," Wolff predicted. "This is a wide-open opportunity now for everybody."

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Michael Wolff, columnist at The Hollywood Reporter, said Tuesday that Fox News was "finished" after Monday's ouster of co-president Bill Shine amid growing sexual harassment allegations – and host Sean Hannity could "walk . . . anytime."
ouster, Bill Shine, Sean Hannity, Michael Wolff
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2017-08-02
Tuesday, 02 May 2017 07:08 PM
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