BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Rupert Murdoch, creator of Fox News, stepping down as head of News Corp. and Fox Corp.

Sep 21, 2023, 8:00 AM | Updated: 8:06 am

FILE - Rupert Murdoch attends the WSJ. Magazine 2017 Innovator Awards at The Museum of Modern Art i...

FILE - Rupert Murdoch attends the WSJ. Magazine 2017 Innovator Awards at The Museum of Modern Art in New York on Nov. 1, 2017. The media magnate is stepping down as chairman of News Corp. and Fox Corp., the companies that he built into forces over the last 50 years. He will become chairman emeritus of both corporations, the company announced on Thursday. His son, Lachlan, will control both companies. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Rupert Murdoch, the 92-year-old Australian media magnate whose creation of Fox News made him a force in American politics, is stepping down as leader of both Fox’s parent company and his News Corp. media holdings.

Fox said Thursday that Murdoch would become chairman emeritus of both companies, effective at board meetings in November. His son, Lachlan, will become News Corp. chairman and continue as chief executive officer of Fox Corp.

Lachlan Murdoch said that “we are grateful that he will serve as chairman emeritus and know he will continue to provide valued counsel to both companies.”

Besides Fox News, Murdoch started the Fox broadcast network, the first to successfully challenge the Big Three of ABC, CBS and NBC, with shows like “The Simpsons.” He is owner of The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.

Fox News Channel has profoundly influenced television and the nation’s politics since its start in 1996, making Murdoch a hero to some and pariah to others. The 24-hour network converted the power and energy of political talk radio to television. Within six years, it outrated CNN and MSNBC.

But it has been a rough year for Fox, which was forced to pay $787 million to settle a defamation lawsuit related to its coverage of false claims following the 2020 presidential election. Shortly after, Fox fired its most popular personality, Tucker Carlson.

Murdoch vowed in a letter to employees that he would remain engaged at Fox.

“In my new role, I can guarantee you that I will be involved every day in the contest of ideas, Murdoch wrote. “Our companies are communities, and I will be an active member of our community. I will be watching our broadcasts with a critical eye, reading our newspapers and websites and books with much interest.”

There was no immediate word on why Murdoch’s announcement came now. Ironically, it is the week author and Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff is publishing a book, “The End of Fox News,” speculating on what will happen to the network when the patriarch is gone.

Murdoch and his family, particularly children James, Lachlan, Elisabeth and Prudence, were said to be the model of the HBO show “ Succession.”

He built his empire from a single newspaper in Adelaide, Australia, inherited from his father and became a multi-billionaire. Forbes estimated the Murdoch family’s net worth at roughly $19 billion in 2020.

While Murdoch never ran for political office, politicians in the United States and Britain anxiously sought his approval.

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Rupert Murdoch, creator of Fox News, stepping down as head of News Corp. and Fox Corp.