The BBC’s Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty continued tonight on BBC Two, exploring how media mogul Rupert Murdoch rose in prominence again following a series of setbacks and scandals.
As well as his influence with Brexit, and Donald Trump’s presidency, the programme finally comes to a resolution of the question of Murdoch’s successor.
Throughout the three-part series, it’s made clear Rupert will pass down his business to one of his six children, with Elisabeth, Lachlan and James being the front runners.
However, as the documentary drew to a close it seems while the media expert has excelled in other areas, this could be the one the area he’s “failed” in.
Speaking on the episode, former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil says: “Family has always been important to Rupert Murdoch, particularly from the point of view of forming the dynasty. I remember in the mid 80s, having dinner with him one Saturday afternoon, after putting the Sunday Times to bed and young Lachlan and James were there and I think they were in their early teens, and the talk was all then about how he was building a company for them.”
He continues: “He used to like to play them off against each other to see how they would survive. He always wanted at least one of his children to take over from him, and in a way he’s failed in that regard.”
In June 2015, Lachlan was named as Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox.
After Fox was acquired by Disney in March 2019, he was then named as the Chairman and CEO of the Fox Corporation.
While Rupert technically succeeded with his plan, Lachlan’s new role comes after both Elisabeth and James bowed out of the running.
Due to political differences with his father, James – who is married to climate change activist Kathryn Hufschmid – distanced himself from the family empire, and in the documentary is shown admitting he doesn’t watch Fox News.
The documentary states he began investing in initiatives to combat fake news and funded a political opponent of Donald Trump.
In 2015, Elisabeth set up her own media company, meaning Rupert, like his father before him, has only handed down a fraction of his business.
Rupert’s father, Keith Murdoch, was the one time senior executive of Australia’s Herald & Weekly Times publishing company.
Rupert was set to inherit his business, however, his father died prematurely in 1952 and his business was split up.
As a result Rupert inherited just one Australian paper, The News, a small Adelaide newspaper.
The Rise of The Rupert Dynasty is on July 28th at 9pm on BBC Two. To see what else is on, have a look at our TV Guide.