The Departure of Peter Chernin as president and COO of News Corp is being viewed as another sign that the company chairman, Rupert Murdoch, is further paving the way for one of his children -- probably James -- to succeed him. Analysts are suggesting that it is unlikely that Murdoch will replace Chernin -- or that any other powerful media executive would accept the job if Murdoch tried. "The problem is that the top job is going to be closed to anyone whose last name is not Murdoch," Mathew Horsman, a prominent London media strategist, told the London Independent. Meanwhile, speculation is rising that Murdoch may attempt to bring his daughter Elisabeth back into the fold, possibly by buying her production company Shine, which acquired NBC chief Ben Silverman's Reveille last year. Michael Wolff, who wrote the Murdoch biography The Man Who Owns the News , told the Independent that such a buyout represented a "credible plan." But, writing in Fortune magazine, Richard Siklos observed that Shine is currently eligible for the 25 percent of program budgets that Britain's largest broadcasters are required to spend with U.K. independent producers. Citing two people close to Murdoch, Siklos said that this pool of funding accounts for a large part of Shine's business. Nevertheless, reports indicated that Elisabeth attended a board meeting of News Corp Tuesday as an "observer." Meanwhile, elder son Lachlan, once regarded as the heir apparent, but who split with his father in 2005, is reportedly content running his own businesses in Australia. Meanwhile, Los Angeles Times media columnist Patrick Goldstein quoted several Murdoch watchers as saying that Chernin has plenty of options in his future. "With all the turmoil in today's media world, every time a company's stock crumbles or a mogul like Redstone or Jobs goes home sick, you'll see Chernin's name at the top of every financial analyst's successor wish list."

25/02/2009