TVSpy LostRemote AgencySpy PRNewser FishbowlNY FishbowlDC SocialTimes AllFacebook GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

Posts Tagged ‘Brian Lewis’

Fighting Words: ‘Brian Lewis No Longer Has Any Confidentiality Obligation to Roger Ailes’

Brian Lewis is not going down without a fight. Lewis, whose firing as Fox News Channel’s top communications executive last month (which came to light last week) has hired pit bull attorney Judd Burstein. Gawker obtained this statement from Burstein:

I have just been retained and am still plotting our course of action. But two things are very clear to me. First, Brian Lewis no longer has any confidentiality obligation to Newscorp or Roger Ailes because of the false and malicious statements made by Fox to date. Second, Roger Ailes and Newscorp have a lot more to fear from Brian Lewis telling the truth about them than Brian Lewis has to fear from Roger Ailes and his toadies telling lies about Brian Lewis.

Just last week, Lewis seemed to take the high road about his dismissal, telling TVNewser: “I will say it has been an honor and privilege to work for Roger Ailes the past 20 years and I wish nothing but the best for him and the great people at Fox News.”

Burstein’s past clients include Donny Deutsch, Donald Trump and boxers Oscar de La Hoya and Lennox Lewis. Clearly, he’s looking for a fight.

Mediabistro Course

Mediabistro Job Fair

Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on January 27 at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

Brian Lewis Talks About his Fox News Firing

Brian Lewis, who spent the last 17 years as the chief spokesperson for Fox News, is himself speaking out about his firing from the network. Though, in classic PR style, just barely.

Lewis, who joined Fox News in April 1996, six months before the network launched, was let go July 25 for, “issues relating to financial irregularities, as well as for multiple, material and significant breaches of his employment contract,” according to 21st Century Fox spokesperson. (It was Lewis who used to do the talking for Fox News and other 21CF entities).

“There has been rampant speculation surrounding my departure from Fox that I am not addressing at this time,” Lewis tells TVNewser. “I will say it has been an honor and privilege to work for Roger Ailes the past 20 years and I wish nothing but the best for him and the great people at Fox News.”

We asked Lewis what was behind his departure, what the “financial irregularities” were, and how he thinks the story of his dismissal leaked out, nearly a month after it occurred. The longtime flack could not, for legal reasons he says, talk about it. We also asked about all the reporting and speculation over the last 24 hours since the story broke.

“Some stories are ludicrous, but there is one story that is particularly ludicrous.” Without saying as much, he’s referring to  Gabe Sherman‘s New York Magazine take on what it all means. Sherman’s book on Ailes and Fox News, “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” is slated to be released in January.

The final line of Sherman’s piece — “Lewis’s departure means Ailes is more isolated than ever before” — got many Fox Newsers Tweeting today defending their boss.

A former Fox may be on the prowl, but he’s not far from the pack.


Greta on Fired Fox Exec: I Couldn’t Pick Him Out of a Line Up!

Fox News host Greta Van Susteren has some thoughts on Brian Lewis whose firing from Fox News in late July, was revealed yesterday, and has been the subject of much media reporting since.

Van Susteren questions some of those reports about Lewis’ position at the network. Until last month, since 1996, Lewis was the top communications executive at Fox News, adding duties for 20th Television, the Fox stations group and FBN over the years. He’d worked with FNC founder and chairman Roger Ailes even before Fox, in the mid-1990s at NBC.

“At the risk of getting into trouble by sticking my nose into this,” Greta begins, then concludes:

No one inside Fox ever talked about Brian as the #2 or the force behind Roger or the success of Fox News Channel. If he was the #2 at Fox News and and largely responsible for its success, that is a Fox News Alert to this prime time anchor of 11 1/2 years! Frankly, I don’t think I could pick Brian out of a line up!

Lewis was fired and escorted from the building on July 25, “specifically for issues relating to financial irregularities, as well as for multiple, material and significant breaches of his employment contract,” a spokesperson said.

Report: Fox News Executive Brian Lewis Fired

Brian Lewis, a senior executive at Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, has been fired from the company over “financial issues and other performance problems,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Lewis was FNC’s executive VP of corporate communications, managing media relations and communications for FNC, FBN, Fox TV stations and Twentieth Television. He was also a close confidant of FNC chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, having worked with Ailes at America’s Talking before joining him to help launch Fox News in 1996. Lewis was promoted to his EVP role in 2006.

From THR:

Insiders say that their close relationship made it difficult for Ailes to cut Lewis loose, but the financial issues — details of which were not available Tuesday — coupled with complaints about complacency and other matters, left Ailes feeling as if he had no other choice.

A spokesperson for 21st Century Fox declined to comment.

Update: Early this evening a 21st Century Fox spokesperson sent us this statement: “After an extensive internal investigation of Brian Lewis’ conduct by Fox News, it was determined that he should be terminated for cause, specifically for issues relating to financial irregularities, as well as for multiple, material and significant breaches of his employment contract. He was terminated for cause on July 25.”


Roger Ailes ‘In a War For Control Of His Own Legacy’? Fox News Responds

Politico’s Dylan Byers has an item today about dueling memoirs focusing on Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, and the birth of Fox News. As we have reported, Zev Chafets is apparently working with Ailes on an authorized book about the origins of Fox News, while New York‘s Gabriel Sherman is writing a book without FNC’s cooperation.

Byers writes that “with his career heading toward its twilight, Ailes is in a war for control of his own legacy,” and argues that Sherman has been maligned for his work.

In a statement to TVNewser, Brian Lewis, the executive VP of corporate communications and senior advisor to the chairman of Fox Television Stations and Fox News, says that the story is faulty.

“The basic premise of the story is inaccurate,” Lewis says. “Roger is not in a ‘war’ with anyone and has stated several times that he is not overly concerned with his legacy. Dylan’s reliance on unnamed sources mirrors the technique that Gabe Sherman has used throughout this process to craft a narrative that simply isn’t true.”

Read more

Skip Bayless Does "The Dougie" On First Take

It was fun while it lasted.

But ESPN First Take contributor Skip Bayless officially killed “The Dougie.”

And not in a good way.


MSNBC Proves the Power of Cable

nbc_news092010.jpgIn today’s Washington Post, Howard Kurtz writes about MSNBC, profiling NBC News president Steve Capus along the way:

The recent resignation of ABC News President David Westin, who had to cut 25 percent of his staff this year, underscores the tough sledding facing the broadcast networks in an era of declining audiences. But Capus, a genial former producer who took over the news division five years ago, says the gloom-and-doom reports don’t apply to his network. In fact, senior executives say NBC, MSNBC and CNBC are on track to have their most profitable years ever, generating about three-quarters of a billion dollars in combined profits. Roughly a third of that comes from MSNBC.

The story is an interesting one, in that it focuses on the business-side of the network rather than the sexier programming-side. Two key takeaways are after the jump.

Read more

FNC Uses Skype, Executive to Report on JFK Security Breach

FNCSkype_1.16.jpgAmid the news from Haiti today, there was another airport security breach, this time at JFK in New York.

CNN and MSNBC, which was in live coverage this afternoon, covered the story. But only FNC had live pictures from Terminal 8, home to American Airlines. The video came from a producer’s laptop transmitted via Skype. And while reporter Laura Ingle was on the scene, the channel also had a phone interview with Fox News EVP Brian Lewis who oversees corporate communications for FNC, FBN, and Fox TV stations, and serves as a Senior Adviser to Roger Ailes.

Lewis emailed FNC producers with details of the news and they put him on the air. Lewis was at JFK for a flight to San Diego where he’s attending tomorrow’s Jets-Chargers game. He’s a Jets fan. Lewis was first to report that the all-clear had been given and the terminal re-opened.

Here’s the video

Fox Exec Makes Power Player List

Lewis_10.15.jpgPRWeek is out with its 2008 Power List of the top 25 public relations executives in the nation. It’s made up some well-known PR names including Richard Edleman; political gurus Mark Penn and Steve Schmidt; and the heads of PR for Exxon Mobil, Facebook, Procter & Gamble and Pfizer.

But just one PR executive from a media company made the list. Brian Lewis is EVP of Corporate Communications for FOX overseeing PR for Fox News, Fox Television Stations, Fox Business Network, Twentieth Television and My Network TV.

Blast From The Past: How Might Fox Respond to Carr

oreilly_7-7.JPGDavid Carr‘s wide-ranging column today about the aggressive PR arm of Fox News brings to mind a similar behind-the-scenes look from almost four years ago.

In July 2004, Alex Ben Block wrote a column for TVWeek titled, “Fox News Plays Hardball With Press.” The piece describes FNC’s, “unusually forceful,” pitching to reporters.

Even before this column was published, FNC publicists contacted TVWeek’s publisher complaining that there might be bias and that my mind was made up before I started writing. In reality, the only bias here is for balanced journalism and fair-minded public relations.

The fallout may surprise you — Block appeared two weeks later to discuss the column on the top-rated O’Reilly Factor. How did that turn out?

Read more