James Murdoch may be given direct responsibility for News Corp.’s U.S. television businesses, the Financial Times reports.
The newspaper said the company is preparing to expand his role to include responsibility of the Fox Networks Group even as he deals with fallout from News Corp.'s phone hacking scandal. The new role would provide him a potential chance to start again, and to rebuild a reputation that has been stained overseas.
Under the role being discussed between News Corp and Murdoch, Peter Rice, the head of News Corp.’s Fox Networks Group, would report directly to him, the paper said. Though Fox Networks includes the Fox network, FX and National Geographic, it does not include News Corp’s Fox News Channel.
Murdoch is currently deputy chief operating officer at News Corp.
News Corp. representatives declined to comment on the report.
The news Thursday came hours after the British media regulator Ofcom found that British Sky Broadcasting, which Murdoch led until his resignation over the scandal, remained a "fit and proper" holder of a broadcasting license. But it said Murdoch, who led both BSkyB and News International, the segment of News Corp. under scrutiny in the scandal, “repeatedly fell short" of his responsibilities.
News Corp., led by James Murdoch's father, Rupert Murdoch, owns 39 percent of BSkyB. News Corp.'s News International owned the News of the World tabloid, which was shuttered because of the scandal. James Murdoch was often named as a potential successor to his father before the scandal broke.
BSkyB avoided the brunt of the scandal. But the bad publicity over the hacking — which included the News of the World tracking the cell phone messages of a murdered teenager — forced the Murdochs to abandon plans to take over BSkyB.