Nestled amid an Oscar special photo spread in Variety today, there’s a photograph of News Corp. chief executive Rupert Murdoch sitting next to Tom Freston at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday night. Tom is throwing his head back with laughter and clapping his hands while Murdoch looks across the table.
We’d like to fill in the bubble. “Tom, I got a great offer for you. Peter’s just given himself the axe, to help me cut costs. I know you always wanted to have MySpace, so the top job’s yours. The only catch is you have to hyphenate your last name to Freston-Murdoch.”
If there were any perfect executive to fill Chernin’s shoes at News Corp. then spiky haired Freston it is. He couldn’t be friendlier with the News Corp. crowd who whisked away MySpace from under his nose and inadvertently lost him his job. In October 2006, soon after Freston was ousted from Viacom, Peter Chernin delivered the Center for Communication annual media executives roast of pal Freston. “How do you give someone a roast, who’s already toast,” Chernin asked, tongue-in-cheek. It would be fun to think about Freston getting his own back on Chernin come this fall and not just as a consultant to Oprah’s new cable network but as the future president and chief operating officer at News Corp.