Jane Fonda thinks a potential acquisition of Time Warner by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox would be an absolute disaster.
“I think it would be a catastrophe,” Fonda told TheWrap during an interview for her “Newsroom” Emmy nomination and upcoming Netflix series. “If that happens I’m going to be so angry at the FCC. They cannot let that happen.”
“It’s no secret that Rupert uses his media outlets for political reasons. And he is not neutral. And he, you know, his news outlets do things that are unconscionable. And it just cannot happen that he becomes that much of a dominant force in American media.”
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Fonda was married to CNN founder Ted Turner from 1991-2001 and these days she plays the owner of a fictional media empire on HBO’s “The Newsroom.” It’s the second straight year her portrayal of the eccentric Leona Lansing character earned her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.
Fonda’s character is a ferocious, no-nonsense business mogul, prone to profanity-laced monologues, each of which is written beat-for-beat by series creator Aaron Sorkin. Fonda and Sorkin’s creative two-punch has created one of TV’s strongest female characters — a woman of conviction who believes broadcasting the news is a sacred responsibility that requires, above all else, integrity.
As TheWrap previously reported, Murdoch and 21st Century Fox submitted an $80 billion bid in June to acquire rival media conglomerate Time Warner, but was unsuccessful. Time Warner’s board rejected the offer and quickly amended their bylaws to try and prevent shareholders from accepting any subsequent bids, but there is still a chance that Murdoch’s company will eventually buy it out.
“Oh! It would be terrible,” added Fonda, after further considering the implications.
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When asked about the evolution of cable news and Time Warner’s CNN in particular, Fonda said: “[CNN is] trying to, you know, compete with stations that play to the lowest common denominator. And, so, a lot of people watch the ones that are ‘infotainment.’ I still watch CNN, but it’s not quite where it used to be, I fear.”
It’s unclear what will happen to CNN if Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, parent company of cable rival Fox News, successfully acquires Time Warner. But speculation among media and industry insiders is already rampant.
Fonda has been nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning twice in 1972 (“Klute”) and in 1978 (“Coming Home.”) This year’s Emmy nomination is her fourth (she previously won for “The Dollmaker” in 1984.)
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Fonda took a hiatus from acting in movies during her marriage to Turner, but returned to the big screen in 2005, starring alongside Jennifer Lopez in the dysfunctional family comedy “Monster-in-Law.” Since then, Fonda’s career has taken on a renewed vigor with roles such as her portrayal of Nancy Reagan in the critically acclaimed 2013 film “The Butler.”
Fonda and her “Newsroom” cast mates wrapped on shooting their third and final season last week. HBO starts airing those episodes in the Fall. She begins shooting Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie” on Aug. 4.
In the rest of TheWrap’s far-ranging interview with Jane Fonda coming early next week, the 76-year-old actress discusses her Emmy-nominated role in HBO’s “Newsroom” and her Netflix series, which reunites her with “9 to 5” co-star Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterston (“The Newsroom”), and Martin Sheen (who starred on Sorkin’s “The West Wing” and appeared in the Fonda and Lindsay Lohan headlined “Georgia Rule.”)