Fox News Co-pres. Bill Shine out, as network attempt overhaul leadership

21st Century Fox trying to clean ship, as the company aims for ownership of the Sky Television network in U.K.

Lars Lonnroth, Freelance reporter


Roger Ailes was the first to go. Bill O’Reilly came nine months after. Now, shortly after the two were ousted for their alleged sexual harassment, a third was kicked from the network May 1 not for harassment himself, but for his possible role in covering it up.

Fox News co-president Bill Shine, a long time associate to the ousted Ailes, was kicked from the network as a perceived attempt to overhaul the network’s leadership, as 21st Century vies for ownership of the Sky TV network as it must appear “fit and proper.”

The series of high-profile sexual harassment allegations have thrown the lucrative news giant into tumult, while O’Reilly and Ailes both deny the allegations against them.

“This is a significant day for all at FOX News,” Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of FOX News parent company, 21st Century Fox, said in a statement. “Bill [Shine] has played a huge role in building FOX News to its present position as the nation’s biggest and most important cable channel in the history of the industry. His contribution to our channel and our country will resonate for many years.”

Shine has, like Ailes, been at Fox News since its inception 20 years ago, but the network has come under fire for its appeared inaction about sexual harassment in a newsroom that has been described as “a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult,” Andrea Tantaros, a former host, alleges.

While Shine was elevated to the top of Fox news after Ailes outing, he was named in some lawsuits claiming he was implicit in the abuse, standing idly by. Some critics of Fox News claim that as long as key figures in Aile’s circle remain—like Shine—the network has not made the necessary changes.

The Murdochs move could be an attempt to create the appearance of change in the fallout of the sexual harassment allegation, at least to regulators  as they seeks to acquire Sky.

The “fit and proper” standard is a requirement for a company interested in acquiring or retaining a broadcast licence in the U.K., assessing if they are a “fit and proper person to perform that function.”

One of the key accusers of O’Reilly, Wendy Walsh, is set to speak on Monday to the regulators who hold the fate of the deal in their very hands, which could imperil the long-held goal of the chairman of Fox.

Murdoch has long had his eyes on an outright purchase of Sky, but as they vie for complete ownership of the company that Murdoch help found years ago the “fit and proper” standard could derail their attempts as it has in the past.

First, it was the revelation that one of the Murdoch’s newspapers had hacked into the phones of celebrities and politicians and other people of note, The New York Times reports.

Now, with the network settling on allegations of sexual harassment, it may look bad to regulators. It appears, however, some who originally opposed Fox’s acquisition when it was first shot down have now changed tones on the Murdochs since their first bid.

“He’s understood the error of his ways,” Claire Enders, a British analyst said in the Times. “20 times more cautious, anxious, obsessed with the corporate governance of Fox.”

With Shine gone, Suzanne Scott and Jay Wallace will be taking the roles of President, Programing and President of Fox News Channel, respectively.

“Suzanne and Jay are recognized industry leaders,” Murdoch said in a statement. “They have both played a large part in assembling the deepest bench of talented broadcasters and journalists. They will lead FOX News to an even more successful future.”