Don't Expect Rupert Murdoch to Disappear or Be Forgotten As He Leaves Fox

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Fox Network founder Rupert Murdoch announced Thursday he is stepping down as leader of his media empire and handing the reins over to his son Lachlan. The news caught many people off-guard, as the 92-year-old Murdoch showed few signs of slowing down running the company he created almost single-handedly with a single newspaper in Australia nearly 70 years ago. Robert Thompson is a professor of TV and popular culture at Syracuse University. He appeared on 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program to reflect on what Murdoch’s “chairman emeritus” announcement means for his media empire and his legacy.

“Most of the talk is about how Murdoch founded Fox News, and what a huge influence that was,” Thompson told Berman and newsman Larry Mendte, sitting in for a vacationing Riedel. “But he founded two big networks. Not only Fox News, but he also founded, or was there for the founding of, the Fox Broadcasting Network, which, strangely enough, did all kinds of things that were not only different from Fox News, but kind of contrary to Fix News. The Simpsons… Married with Children… In Living Color… Late Night with Joan Rivers.”

Thompson doesn’t see any indications that Fox will conduct anything other than business as usual with the son taking over for his legendary father. “I don’t foresee any big changes, at least in the immediate future… I think they’ve got a business model that is working so well for them. They’ve been over 20 years number one in the ratings of 24-hour cable networks, and I don’t think anything is going to change that, and there’s nothing in Lachlan Murdoch’s past that indicates that he has any plans or disposition to do such a thing.”

More importantly, Thompson noted that Murdoch most likely won’t completely take his hand off the tiller. “I guess it’s the end of an era, because Rupert isn’t in charge, but you’ve also noticed in that statement he made he’s going to be working every day. He’s still in robust health. I don’t think he’s going to do like Johnny Carson did and retire and go off into the sunset.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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