Launched in 1996, Fox News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour cable news channel headquartered in New York City. Often referred to as Fox News, the channel broadcasts worldwide. FNC offers a variety of programming, including breaking and headline news, news from the financial markets and political commentary. The channel’s slogan is “Fair and Balanced,” although critics contend it has a conservative, Republican bent. Fox News representatives respond that news reporting and political commentary are independent functions and that FNC is unbiased in its news reporting.
The Fox Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of News Corporation, owns Fox News Channel. The origins of FNC date back to 1985, when media entrepreneur Rupert Murdoch announced that he and industrialist Marvin Davis planned to create a network of stations to compete directly with ABC, CBS and NBC. At the time, Murdoch and Davis were co-owners of 20th Century Fox; Murdoch later bought out Davis and became sole owner.
The Fox News Channel first aired on Oct. 7, 1996, under the direction of Chief Executive Officer Roger Ailes. A former strategist for the Republican Party, Ailes came to Fox News Channel from the cable channel America’s Talking, the forerunner of MSNBC. Although 10 million households watched FNC’s debut, the channel was not available in the Los Angeles and New York City markets.
The leading news broadcast at Fox News Channel’s launch was “The Schneider Report.” Daily programming consisted of single-topic, 20-minute segments on various themes such as politics and crime. Political commentary included programs hosted by Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Catherine Crier.
From its onset, Fox News Channel recognized the importance of graphics in helping viewers understand and capture the information presented. Graphics include the use of bullet points, charts and graphs, on-screen text that highlights or summarizes the points discussed and a big, bold Fox News Alert tag that appears on the screen whenever breaking news interrupts regular programming. On Sept. 11, 2001, Fox News Channel pioneered a visual element that other news organizations adopted. After terrorists struck the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and hijacked a fourth plane that crashed in Pennsylvania, FNC began running a news ticker along the bottom of the screen to keep viewers updated on information that flowed in throughout the day. Because it proved popular with viewers, the channel continues to run the ticker during its current programming. The ticker includes summaries of headline and breaking news, financial news and soft news such as entertainment reports.
Fox News Channel launched a high-definition channel (FNCHD) on May 1, 2008, and has several sister stations:
- Fox Business News, www.foxbusiness.com
- Fox Broadcasting Company, www.fox.com
- Sky News, www.news.sky.com
- Sky News Australia, www.skynews.com.au
- Sky TG24, tg24.sky.it
Fox News Channel broadcasts from seven studios in the Rockefeller Center in New York
City and one studio in Washington, D.C. It offers 24-hour programming and includes a number of news anchors, correspondents and hosts featured each day. FNC consistently has had shows ranked in the top 10 among cable news programs.
Program hosts at Fox News Channel include O’Reilly and Hannity, who have been with FNC since its launch. “The O’Reilly Factor” remains at the top of the ratings for cable news shows, holding the No. 1 spot for more than 12 years. In addition to O’Reilly and Hannity, other popular FNC shows include “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” FNC’s flagship financial program, and “The Five,” a political commentary program. Most programs are 60-minute segments; several, such as “Fox & Friends,” “America’s Newsroom” and “Happening Now” are two- or three-hour segments.
In addition to its regular programs Monday through Friday, FNC offers weekend programming. Ranging in length from 30-minute segments to four hours, topics include news, society, business, crime and politics. Fox News Channel also offers special programming throughout the year:
- “You Decide,” election coverage
- “Crime Scene,” hosted by Greta Van Susteren
- “War Stories,” hosted by Oliver North
- Fox News Specials, documentaries on various topics