New York Times - Business

Bill Shine Steps Out From Behind the Scenes to Lead Fox News

Andrea Tantaros, a daytime host, said that when she complained about Mr. Ailes to Mr. Shine, he held an issue of Variety with Mr. Ailes’s picture on the cover and said, “Don’t fight this.” Mr. Shine, through a spokeswoman, said that Ms. Tantaros never approached him about Mr. Ailes’s harassing her.

Laurie Luhn, a former booker at Fox, told New York magazine that Mr. Ailes enlisted Mr. Shine to recommend doctors and make travel arrangements for her while she was involved in a relationship with Mr. Ailes. Mr. Shine has told associates that he never knew that the two were romantically involved.

In the television industry, Mr. Shine’s promotion was taken as a sign that Rupert Murdoch, who is now executive chairman of Fox News, does not intend a full-scale removal of people who worked closely with Ailes. It also suggested that Mr. Murdoch is enamored of Mr. Shine, who is now tasked with leading Fox News as CNN’s ratings surge and some popular anchors have suggested they may retire or leave the network.

Silver-haired and bearded — with a facial scar picked up from a rowdy night in college — Mr. Shine is a Long Island native, who grew up past where the island’s electrified train tracks end. After college, he worked as a producer at local stations there. He married a fellow producer, Darla Seneck, and met Mr. Hannity, who was soon to start at Fox News.

Producing “Hannity & Colmes,” Mr. Shine showed a knack for earning ratings and managing talent, quickly winning Mr. Ailes’s trust. When Ms. Van Susteren was lured to Fox from CNN, Mr. Shine was put in charge of her prime-time show.

In news meetings, Mr. Shine is known less for voicing strident political views than for suggesting segments that prove popular with viewers, like stories about the gas tax. At Christmastime, he treats executive producers to lunch at a Midtown steakhouse.

He can also be blunt when he needs to be. When Liz Claman, a Fox Business anchor, complained to Mr. Shine last year about what she viewed as too much politics in the coverage, Mr. Shine dismissed her complaint by noting that her ratings were among the lowest on the channel, according to a former employee at the network with direct knowledge of the conversation.

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Cover and back cover of “Happy Housewives” by Darla Shine published by Regan, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, in 2005.

His carrot-and-stick style impressed Mr. Ailes, who often asked Mr. Shine to handle an upset anchor. It was Mr. Shine who informed Mr. Hannity, in 2010, that he could not headline a Tea Party rally in Ohio; the two remain close.

In 2004, Mr. Shine was directed by Mr. Ailes to mollify Susan Estrich, a lawyer and Fox News contributor, who was upset after the Democratic convention in Boston when fellow Democrats criticized her for appearing on the network, according to two executives familiar with the discussion. (Ms. Estrich is now defending Mr. Ailes in the harassment case brought against him by the former Fox host Gretchen Carlson.)

Mr. Shine, a twin, was one of four children and grew up in a household where, according to his wife’s book, his parents sometimes went weeks without speaking. “He always said he would never want this for his marriage,” Darla Shine wrote, describing her husband as someone who doted on their children, and a romantic who likes to dance on dates.

“Eat your hearts out,” she wrote. “He makes the beds on the weekend and will even do a few loads of laundry (including folding and putting away).”

Ms. Shine’s book, published in 2005 by Judith Regan, then an executive at Fox News’s parent company, was a response to the series “Desperate Housewives.” The book urged women to “shut up, stop whining, and for goodness’ sake, stop nagging your husband.”

Ms. Shine appeared on the “Today” show, and Mr. Shine told Newsday that he was unembarrassed by the sections in the book about the couple’s intimate life. “Hopefully, it’ll start a conversation between women and men and husbands and wives,” he told the paper.

For Mr. Shine, it was a rare foray into the spotlight. In 20 years at Fox, he has eaten lunch at Michael’s, the Midtown media hangout, just once. Only this past year did he rent a Manhattan apartment to accommodate his longer hours.

“What I love most about Bill is he’s a regular guy,” Maria Bartiromo, the Fox Business anchor, wrote in an email, in which she credited Mr. Shine for an increase in her ratings. “Very steady, very smart, and very genuine. He tells you the way it is. I appreciate that.”

Fox News remains influential in Republican politics, but Mr. Shine is not registered in a political party. His wife, on her blog, occasionally delves into politics, writing last month, “I am afraid of our debt, afraid for my children, afraid we have lost the American Dream.” She has also described her concerns about the health effects of vaccinations.

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Fox News personalities at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton last year. Credit Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

She writes glowingly about Mr. Shine. Among the glimpses into their life are photographs from last year’s White House Correspondents Dinner. In one image, Mr. Shine, in formal wear, is seen posing with eight female Fox anchors at his side.

“Wow,” Ms. Shine wrote. “My husband is one lucky guy.”

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