The Hollywood Reporter’s Paul J. Gough writes about FNC’s 10 years on the air…
After nine years of steady growth, Fox News Channel arrives at its 10th birthday Saturday with a few growing pains that will challenge it in its second decade.
There is no question that the Fox News Channel has exceeded all expectations since it signed on Oct. 7, 1996, long before the nation had heard of Monica Lewinsky, blogs, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton or Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Fox News executives remember the laughter and the barbs when plans for the channel were announced by News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. They recall being ignored by CNN, the longtime leader in cable news, and derided by others in the TV news business.
“This was a mountain that couldn’t be climbed,” said anchor Shepard Smith, who has been with the channel since it began. It took less than seven years for Fox News to overtake CNN, in the process becoming a part of the national conversation and frequently becoming a lightning rod for partisan passions on both sides of the aisle.
“We came on at the right time, there were a lot of big stories, the competition totally ignored us,” senior vp programming Bill Shine said. “We literally sneaked up on them, we hired some very good journalists and shot past our competition.”