Like Rupert Murdoch or hate him, he his an undeniable force of nature in the media business. And he is so much fun.
He's like Greg Norman in a field of Scott Simpsons, which is to say a risk-taker who goes for the pin and risks a melt-down as opposed to a workmanlike pro who could put you to sleep with his metronome-like consistency.
In the interests of full disclosure, I am a big Fox watcher, House, Idol, The Simpsons (Homer, not Scott) and Family Guy, among them. Some of Murdoch's stuff is schlock–24 for my money–but a lot of it isn't, and House is brilliant if formulaic.
Is anybody out there ready to bet against Murdoch's planned financial news network. If he does indeed snap up Dow Jones, he will have quite a launch pad. Murdoch has a track record of getting what he wants, from a little network that did to a New York Post that had been snatched from him by Democratic legislators.
MySpace, National Geographic (the channel), TV Guide. Murdoch has become a part of the fabric of America. Titanic, American Idol, the World Series, the Super Bowl, all have had Murdoch's fingerprints on them.
How long before Fox gets an Olympic game? Just don't emply Jack Bauer to protect it.
By way of further disclosure, this ruminating was prompted by an e-mail I got from The Atlantic Monthly reminding me that the mag had run a James Fallows profile, "The Age of Murdoch," back in 2003.
It is a great piece and worth perusing as Murdoch prepares to swash his latest buckle.
By John Eggerton