Skip to navigationSkip to content
Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News answers questions during panel discussion at Television Critics Association summer press tour in Pasadena
Fred Prouser
Not the kind of Hollywood biopic you’re hoping for.
TO CURE WHAT AILS

Fox News, Megyn Kelly, and Roger Ailes are getting the Hollywood treatment

By Adam Epstein

Former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly has had quite a year: First, she got a cushy new gig at Fox rival NBC. And now she’ll be played by the Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron as the heroine of a Hollywood movie about the moral depravity of her former employers.

Annapurna Pictures is producing a film about the late Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Kelly was among a number of Fox News employees who accused Ailes of sexual misconduct in 2016. After an internal review, Ailes was forced out of the conservative cable news network that he founded 20 years prior. He died last year.

Gretchen Carlson, another Fox News host who accused Ailes of harassment, will reportedly be a central character in the film as well. Other characters may include Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch, host Sean Hannity, and former host Bill O’Reilly, who was fired from the network last year after a sexual harassment scandal of his own. No word yet on who will portray those fine gentlemen.

The news of an Ailes movie comes just two weeks before the debut of HBO’s Succession, a new TV series about a “dysfunctional global media family” that’s partly inspired by Murdoch and his family. In the series, Brian Cox plays an aging, Murdoch-esque mogul who controls one of the world’s most powerful media companies. Among his valued assets are several cable news networks.

Succession isn’t explicitly about Fox News, but it nonetheless promises to be an indictment of America’s oligarchical media industry, in which a small cadre of incredibly wealthy people control much of the news you receive. “It’s about how wealth distances you from life,” Cox said at the show’s world premiere last month.

Jay Roach, a director known for his films about American politics (Game Change, Recount, All the Way) will direct the still untitled Ailes film. Charles Randolph, who co-wrote The Big Short with Succession executive producer Adam McKay, is penning the script for Roach’s film.

It’s a little surprising that it’s taken Hollywood this long to put Fox News under the microscope. Outside of an episode of The Simpsons here, or a Saturday Night Live sketch there, Ailes’ monolithic news network hasn’t received the fair and balanced Hollywood scrutiny it warrants. This movie and TV show might be just the beginning.