Ink may run in Rupert Murdoch's icy veins, but he's dumping his first love—newspapers—for the bitch-whore of film. News Corp. announced today that all of its newspapers and publishing assets (the dying, scandal-ridden ones) will be spun off into a new stand-alone company called Papers'n'Shit, leaving its film and television assets to make fistfuls of money unmolested by dinosaur media.
Murdoch will remain chairman of both companies, but will serve as CEO of only the film arm, which means he will effectively abandon his flagship Wall Street Journal, political cudgel New York Post, and new tablet toy The Daily. Not to mention, of course, all the British newspapers currently being torn to pieces for their lengthy histories of criminality and skullduggery.
The traditional arrangement at News Corp. was that the silly old man was allowed to play with his money-losing newspapers because all the Avatars made so much damn money that covering the losses didn't really seem like such a big deal. How the Post can continue to lose $70 million a year without movie money to fall back on is unclear; 5% revenue growth at Dow Jones is nice, but it's not going to fill a money pit like the that. Massive and catastrophic cost-cutting will likely be in order.
And who will be directing those cuts? In an interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox News this morning, Murdoch threw cold water on speculation that his son Lachlan will return from exile in Australia to take the reins. And his other son James, who hates newspapers anyway, is presumably too busy dodging parliamentary inquiries and lying through his sociopathic teeth to take it on. Murdoch jokingly told Cavuto that he might tap someone from Fox News to run the papers, raising the prospect that Roger Ailes may one day have the Wall Street Journal in his chubby clutches, which would be so much fun to watch.
[Image via AP]