Murdoch casts shadow on Fox News

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Rupert Murdoch told shareholders Thursday that Fox News Channel had done little more than break even in its 2000-01 fiscal cycle, and its costs had increased dramatically for the 2001-02 fiscal year.

Reuters reports Murdoch told shareholders at News Corp.'s annual meeting that ``costs have been blown right off budget'' for the current financial year. But Murdoch said he expected the operation to win improved ratings, and further down the track he could see Fox News being worth as much as its Fox Family unit.

News agreed in July to sell Fox Family Worldwide to Walt Disney Co. for $5.3 billion, including the assumption of about $2.3 billion in debt.

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