Recently promoted Fox News co-president Bill Shine may very well be the least-known person to ever run a major cable news network, but at least a lengthy New York Times profile sheds some light on the executive — even if he declined to participate in it.
Fox News announced a new management structure last week, naming Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy and senior executive vice president Shine co-presidents, effective immediately.
Shine now reports directly to Fox News Channel and Fox Business executive chairman Rupert Murdoch, and will run all programming and news functions of each network, including production, technical operations and talent management.
Below are five takeaways from the recent NYT profile of Shine.
He is a Roger Ailes disciple
The Times said Shine was “known as an affable and loyal right-hand man to Roger Ailes,” for years. The paper said Ailes relied on Shine to “handle delicate matters with personnel” and “a consummate behind-the-scenes player.”
“His carrot-and-stick style impressed Mr. Ailes, who often asked Mr. Shine to handle an upset anchor,” Times wrote. “Shine is emphatically a member of the network’s old guard, with a reputation as a corporate survivor and an assiduous flatterer.”
Suspended Fox News host Andrea Tantaros recently told New York magazine that he knew about her claims of sexual harassment by Ailes, but Shine denied all accusations.
“Andrea never made any complaints to me about Roger Ailes sexually harassing her,” Shine said through a Fox News spokesperson when the allegations were originally made.
He’s a private man in a public gig
“It is an unusually public role for Mr. Shine, 53, who is little known outside his industry and shies from the more glamorous side of television that other prominent news chieftains, like CNN’s Jeffrey Zucker and NBC’s Andrew Lack, tend to relish,” the Times said. “Shine has never been profiled by a major magazine, and there are few public photographs of him besides his official head shot.”
We do know that Shine is an Irish-Catholic family man, son of a New York City police officer, a twin and commutes two hours every morning from Long Island to Fox News’ New York City headquarters, according to the Times.
He is an original Fox News exec who is well liked in the newsroom
The Times said, “to many inside Fox’s newsroom, Mr. Shine’s promotion came as a relief” and notes that he is particularly close with Greta Van Susteren and Sean Hannity.
He joined the network in its inaugural year of 1996 and has climbed the corporate latter for the last two decades. It was important for Fox News that whoever replaced Ailes was respected among the highly successful hosts of the network’s primetime lineup.
“Producing ‘Hannity & Colmes,’ Mr. Shine showed a knack for earning ratings and managing talent,” the Times wrote about Shine’s early days at the network.
“What I love most about Bill is he’s a regular guy,” Maria Bartiromo, the Fox Business anchor, wrote in an email to the Times. “Very steady, very smart, and very genuine. He tells you the way it is. I appreciate that.”
He’s not registered in a political party
Fox News is known to take on a conservative voice on it’s opinion shows, and that won’t change anytime soon. However, the Times said, “Fox News remains influential in Republican politics, but Mr. Shine is not registered in a political party.”
Murdoch is a big fan of Shine
When Murdoch promoted Shine, it was clearly a sign that Fox News wasn’t going to totally clean house and start fresh with a new regime. Many people speculated that anyone involved with Ailes would be gone, but that is obviously not the case. Fox News has simply been too successful to completely start over, which is something Murdoch is well aware of.
“It also suggested that Mr. Murdoch is enamored of Mr. Shine, who is now tasked with leading Fox News as CNN’s ratings surge and some popular anchors have suggested they may retire or leave the network,” the Times wrote.