James Murdoch Gives Rupert Murdoch An ‘A+’ Running Fox News

By Chris Ariens 

21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch gives his father an “A+” in his running of Fox News Channel.

Rupert Murdoch, who is co-chairman of 21CF took over running Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network following the abrupt resignation of Roger Ailes in July.

The younger Murdoch was the opening guest at the 2016 UBS Global Media and Communications Conference this morning.

“I think Fox News’ prospects for 2017 to be very strong,” James Murdoch said, adding that ratings “are less down than we expected.”

In fact, there’s growth in other dayparts. Tucker Carlson Tonight, which debuted after the election, averaging 2.93 million viewers a night, up +40 percent in viewers and up +71 percent in the A25-54 demo compared to the same month last year. No. 1 cable news show O’Reilly Factor averaged over 4 million viewers last month, up +28 in viewers and up +59 percent in the demo.

Murdoch also noted that because ratings at CNN and MSNBC shot up during the election, their numbers have dropped “quite a bit more” than Fox’s. And while ratings will be down in 2017 vs. 2016, Murdoch expects comparable revenue.

Murdoch was not asked about one of his biggest stars and her contract negotiations. Following a Drudge Report story last week that Megyn Kelly was being heavily courted by CNN, Kelly took to Twitter Friday night.

In fact, we did speak with Kelly last month for our annual Hot List issue, and he’s what she told us: “I’m seriously considering my future and I do feel very grateful that I have a spot at Fox News that want me to stay. I really have respect for the Murdochs. I haven’t known them very well but I’ve come to know them and so far I like everything I’ve seen. So the thought of working for them is very alluring. But I have to figure this one out and give it all the consideration it deserves because I’ve got these three little people (children Yates, Yardley and Thatcher) with me who I really love and want to see as well. You know, this is a big one for me and I don’t want to screw it up.”