News Corp signs Roger Ailes to new Fox contract

NEW YORK Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:31pm EST

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NEW YORK Nov 20 (Reuters) - Roger Ailes, the veteran television executive who launched the Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, has signed a new five-year contract with News Corp NWSa.N, Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate.

Ailes, 68, joined News Corp in 1996 when he launched the Fox News Channel. Under the new contract, Ailes will continue to oversee the news and financial channels, as well as Fox Television Stations, Fox Business Network, My Network TV and Twentieth Television.

He also will advise Murdoch on TV and news matters, according to a statement released by News Corp on Thursday.

Ailes had more than a year left on his previous contract, company spokesman Brian Lewis said. He declined to say how much money Ailes would earn under the new contract.

Ailes is a longtime media consultant and TV executive. According to many books and reports, he served as media adviser on Richard Nixon's U.S. presidential campaign in 1968 and helped the famously TV-averse candidate adjust to the medium.

He also served as a consultant in 1984 to President Ronald Reagan and later to President George H.W. Bush.

Under Ailes, the upstart Fox News Channel rode a wave of support among conservative-leaning watchers who considered other media outlets too liberal. It became one of the top-rated cable news programs, though it took several years and was greeted dismissively at first by many media experts.

The Fox Business Network, which Ailes started a little more than a year ago, reaches more than 40 million homes. This is a fraction of the homes reached by its older and more established rival, General Electric Co's (GE.N) CNBC. Ailes worked for that network before being hired away by Murdoch. (Reporting by Robert MacMillan; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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