The bizarre last year featured a wild presidential election, the toppling of a pioneering cable news titan and a new host of pundits who have emerged as household names. Check out 16 winners in media from 2016.
Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine
Shine and Abernethy were named co-presidents of Fox News Channel after Shine’s mentor, former CEO Roger Ailes, stepped down in disgrace amid numerous accusations of sexual harassment. They not only survived the storm, they now run the network, which was the most-watched in all of basic cable for 2016.
The former Fox News host was courageous enough to go public with sexual harassment claims against then-CEO Roger Ailes, who was arguably the most powerful man in media. Ailes stepped down in disgrace while Fox News settled with Carlson and even issued an apology.
The man who was chosen to replace Skip Bayless on “First Take” is now the co-star of one of ESPN’s biggest brands. The boxing expert who played himself in “Creed” had as considerable a career upgrade as anyone in sports media this year.
The editor of the Washington Post has been a respected journalist for years, but when Live Schreiber portrayed him in the Academy Award winning film “Spotlight” it took Baron’s renown to a whole new level.
Like it or not, Trump essentially used the media to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election with a ton of free publicity, news-making tweets and polarizing rhetoric.
The former professional wrestler received $31 million plus a share of distributions from Gawker’s recent $135 million sale to Univision when he successfully sued the media gossip site for publishing portions of a sex tape in which he was featured.
The multifarious media mogul went from running Breitbart, a far-right news organization, to Donald Trump’s campaign as CEO. After winning the election, Trump named him the chief strategist and senior counselor of his incoming administration.
The political activist-turned CNN pundit became a star on Election Day when he coined the term “whitelash,” referring to voters who came out against diversity and President Obama’s eight years in office.
Fox News’ Primetime Lineup
Let’s face it, 2016 was a terrific year for the Fox News primetime team. Bill O’Reilly has the No. 1 cable news show and the No. 1 book in America, Megyn Kelly emerged as a household name and Sean Hannity was the only major news host to believe in Donald Trump’s presidential prospects. Not too shabby.
Conway was brought in by the Trump campaign to help soften his image, and she went on to become the first female campaign manager to ever win a presidential election. Conway emerged as the likable voice of reason among the Trump campaign and even received the “Saturday Night Live” treatment when Kate McKinnon parodied her frequent TV appearances.
CNN’s senior media correspondent and “Reliable Sources” host was among the network’s most-solicited specialists in 2016 when Donald Trump forced media news to essentially mirror political news.
The “Watch What Happens: Live” host produces Bravo’s extremely successful “Real Housewives” series and even joined pal Anderson Cooper for a nationwide tour in 2016. On top of all that, Cohen was rumored to be replacing Michael Strahan on “Live!” with Kelly Ripa, but he’s too busy for another gig.
The veteran journalist first made 2016 news when she read an emotional letter written by the Stanford rape victim live on the air. In October, CNN promoted Banfield to primetime, where she replaced Nancy Grace on HLN.
The New York Magazine editor literally wrote the book on Roger Ailes back when most observers thought now-disgraced Fox News CEO was a stand-up guy. Sherman was proven right about Ailes in 2016 and was out in front of the story with a ton of scoops surrounding Gretchen Carlson’s claims of sexual harassment against the Fox News co-founder.
The Washington Post reporter was on fire throughout the election cycle and even broke the story of the infamous hot mic moment when Trump was caught saying he inappropriately touches women.
The “Fox News Sunday” host was praised for his performance as moderator of the final debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the first Fox News personality to do so. He was even parodied on “SNL” by Tom Hanks.
BONUS WINNER: “Morning Joe”
The MSNBC show deserves recognition for taking Trump seriously from Day 1. In fact, the show survived accusations that it was too friendly with Trump before turning on him and touching off a Twitter feud with the then-candidate. Now, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough are back in Donald’s good graces and have as loyal a fan base as any show on cable news.
Click here for those media members who didn’t have as prosperous a 2016 with TheWrap’s list of the year’s media losers.