Family & Companions
The chair and CEO of Fox News, which includes the Fox News Channel, Roger Ailes has been a presence in news and entertainment programming for almost 30 years. Simultaneously, he served as an advisor and media consultant to three of the last four Republican presidents--Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush. An unabashed conservative, Ailes has publicly stated that Fox News would reflect a conservative bent as a contrast to what he perceived as the ongoing liberal slant of the news media in general.
Ailes' work in politics began in 1968 when he became Richard Nixon's executive producer for TV during the presidential campaign. He remained at The White House for as communications consultant until 1970. when he went into entertainment programming, producing "The Mike Douglas Show" (syndicated) for a spell, as well as short-lived talk programs featuring game show hosts Allen Ludden (1969) and Tom Kennedy (1970). Ailes also produced the 1976 syndicated offering "Steve Allen's Laugh-Back" and two New York stage productions--"Mother Earth", a 1972 musical, and Lanford Wilson's Off-Broadway smash, "The Hot l Baltimore" (1973).
Throughout even his most active entertainment period, Ailes always kept a foot in news and current affairs, and in 1974 served as news editor of the short-lived TVN service, financed by the right wing Joseph Coors. In 1981, Ailes was brought in by NBC to executive produce "Tomorrow Coast-to-Coast", which was the Tom Snyder program expanded to 90 minutes with Rona Barrett and other hosts. Squabbles among its principal talent as well as low ratings triggered its early demise. Ailes then opened his own communications consulting shop, and in 1984, became a political media advisor, helping to create the advertising for the re-election campaign of President Ronald Reagan. Four years later, he served as senior media adviser on the 1988 campaign of George Bush, overseeing advertising as well as prepping the candidate for the debates with Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis. Many credit Ailes with the Willie Horton advertisements that helped turn the tide in Bush's favor.
Ailes produced the special "Television and the Presidency" (1984), featuring Theodore H White, and, after running his own company, Ailes Communications, from 1989-1993, returned to the TV business. He executive produced the successful syndicated TV series "Rush Limbaugh" (1992-96), featuring the eponymous brash, hulking conservative commentator. In 1993, Ailes accepted the challenge presented to him by NBC to become president of CNBC, the network's business news service, as well as launch America's Talking (A-T), which was to be an all-talk cable network. Under Ailes' aegis, CBNC was, for a period, the fastest-growing cable network in the USA, reaching 57 million subscribers and going global in 1995. Ailes also hosted the chat show "Straight Forward with Roger Ailes" (A-T, 1994-1996), interviewing newsmakers and celebrities. When NBC opted to drop A-T in favor of creating a partnership with Microsoft (MSNBC), he and the network parted ways. leaving him free to accept Rupert Murdoch's offer to oversee the launch of Fox News.