Peter Chernin stepped down as Rupert Murdoch's #2 man at News Corp yesterday; now the stories hit, complete with the attendant flackery. Would a News Corp-owned paper report it differently? Let's see!
After deciding over the weekend to leave the company after 20 years, Mr. Chernin attended the Academy Awards Sunday night, where "Slumdog Millionaire," a film released by a unit of the News Corporation that he oversees, won best picture.
The company has been planning for Mr. Chernin's departure... Mr. Chernin's departure was finalized over the weekend while both he and Mr. Murdoch were in Los Angeles, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Chernin attended the Academy Awards, where "Slumdog Millionaire," a film from News Corp.'s Fox Searchlight Pictures, won the award for best picture of the year.
The company said that when Mr. Chernin leaves upon the expiration of his contract on June 30, those Los Angeles-based units of the company will report to Mr. Murdoch.
News Corp. plans to streamline the management structure, and Mr. Chernin's exit is expected to give more responsibility to well-regarded entertainment executives, including James Gianopulos, Tom Rothman and Peter Rice. Mr. Murdoch is also expected to spend more time in Los Angeles, though he is already involved in the entertainment businesses and keeps an office down the hall from Mr. Chernin's on the Fox studio lot. ... Mr. Chernin tended to be the public face of key businesses, including News Corp.'s entertainment and digital-media businesses, and analysts had fretted about the effects of his possible departure. Mr. Murdoch said in his statement that News Corp. is "fortunate to have such a strong and seasoned group of leaders at our Fox companies, and we are confident that our success will continue.
Mr. Chernin, who has been the News Corporation's president and chief operating officer since 1996, mainly oversaw the company's Los Angeles-based businesses, like the 20th Century Fox film studio and the Fox broadcast network. Mr. Chernin joined the company in 1989 as president of entertainment at the Fox Broadcasting Company, overseeing the production of shows like "The Simpsons" and "Beverly Hills 90210." In 1992, he moved to the film side and became chief executive of Fox Filmed Entertainment; the studio released "Titanic" under his watch. ... In Hollywood, Mr. Chernin has generally been regarded as one of a very small handful of executives - Robert A. Iger of the Walt Disney Company and Barry Meyer of Warner Brothers are two others - who excelled at both the internal dynamics and the rapidly changing economic prospects of the entertainment industry.
Mr. Chernin joined News Corp. in 1989 as president of entertainment at Fox Broadcasting and in 1992 became president and CEO of the Fox movie studio, a post he held until his promotion to his current position in 1996.
See, when you talk to the paper, your side gets better coverage, which is the only reason anyone ever talks to the paper about anything. [Reporters involved care to object? Email us]