Roger Ailes was the media magnate who founded the American pay television news channel, Fox News Channel. Prior to his resignation on 21st July 2016, he was the Chief Executive Officer and chairman of Fox Television Stations and Fox News that sparked the transformation of the cable television landscape. Apart from being a producer of many TV programs, Roger Ailes also ventured into stage and TV productions with production credits including Mother Earth and The Hot I Baltimore.
He was also a renowned political consigliere through whom many political figures occupied the United States presidency seat including Donald Trump. His talent as a writer came to light when he authored a book with his friend, Jon Kraushar. He entitled the book ‘You Are The Message: Secrets of the Master Communicators’. More background details about the media magnate below.
Roger Ailes’ Biography
The famed media mogul was born, Roger Eugene Ailes to his parents Donna Marie Cunningham and Robert Eugene Ailes in the industrial town of Warren, Ohio, the United States on 15th May 1940. His father, Robert served as the maintenance honcho of Packard Electric Plant, Ohio. He had his childhood experiences in Warren, Ohio.
Roger Ailes went to Warren city schools and was later initiated into Warren G. Harding High School’s Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame. Following his completion of high school, he entered Ohio University in Athens, Ohio where he graduated from in 1962 majoring in radio and television. While in the university, he worked as the manager of the university’s radio station, WOUB for two years.
The media titan landed his first gig in 1961 as the production assistant of KYW-TV situated in Cleveland. He was promoted in 1965 to become the producer and later the executive producer of the talk show, The Mike Douglas Show. Following the national syndication of the show which he was still the executive producer of, Roger Ailes clinched the 1967 and 1968 Emmy Awards for his contributions in the award-winning show.
After his mettlesome conversation with the then-Republican presidential candidate, Richard Nixon, Ailes was made Nixon’s executive producer for his media presidential campaigns which later yielded fruitful result as Richard Nixon went on to become the winner of the 1968 presidential election. That was the hallmark of his political career as he further established a political consultancy firm in 1969 named, Ailes Communication. Throughout his lifetime, Roger Ailes aided many Republican presidential candidates including George H.W. Bush and Donald Trump to emerge victorious through his excellent debate prepping skills.
After his stint in politics, he reignited his television career as he became the president of CNBC cable news network which later became MSNBC. As a result of his alleged racial assault on David Zaslav and other internal strife, the media mogul left MSNBC and was recruited by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation in January 1996 to establish Fox News Channel with his experiences in cable news.
Following the kicking off of Fox News Channel on 7th October, Ailes was made the Chief Executive Officer by Rupert Murdoch. As a result of the exit of Lachlan Murdoch from News Corporation, Roger Ailes became the Chairman of Fox Television Stations Group on 15th August 2005 and with that, came major transformation in Fox News. The changes include hiring A-List media personalities like Bill O’Reilly, Neil Cavuto, Dennis Swanson, and Brit Hume along with the substitution of the program, A Current Affair with Geraldo Rivera with Geraldo at Large. Within a few years, Ailes made Fox News to the same par with other globally recognized cable news networks like CNN.
However, allegations of sexual assaults from former Fox employee, Gretchen Carlson and that of other women like Andrea Tantaros and Megyn Kelly forced Roger Ailes to resign on 21st July 2016.
Roger Ailes’ Net Worth
Having been a notable media personality who commanded a $20 million annual salary coupled with his $40 million retirement compensation, Roger Ailes made the bank with his net worth that is estimated at $100 million.
His Family – Wife, and Son
Roger Ailes first married his high school girlfriend, Marjorie White in 1960 but they separated in 1977. He ventured into his second marriage by tying the knot with Norma Ferrer in 1981 but the union hit the rocks in 1995. The prominent media magnate then solemnized the union with his third wife, Elizabeth Tilson on 14th February 1998. The couple welcomed their son, Zachary on 1st January 2000. Elizabeth who was once a TV executive owns a publishing firm, a local New York State newspaper, The Putnam County News & Recorder and The Putnam County Courier.
Roger Ailes’ Death
After falling and hitting his head in his home at Palm Beach, Florida on 10th May 2017, Roger Ailes succumbed to a subdural hematoma and died on 18th May 2017 to the dismay of his wife and son.