Rupert’s Age, Apple/NFL, and the Bomb of the Pandemic

Rupert Murdoch
Photo by PG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
Matthew Belloni
April 17, 2022

In honor of the holidays, I’m answering some reader questions in a mailbag edition of this column. Thanks to everyone who submitted queries and apologies if I didn’t get to yours. Read on, below, for what I’m hearing about Rupert Murdoch, Mike Richards, the future of the WarnerMedia assets, and more.

What’s up with Rupert Murdoch? I’ve heard he’s slowed down a lot lately, but there hasn’t been any media coverage of this.

Well, the guy’s 91 now, so I hope he’s slowed down. But yes, there are rumblings in the U.K. that Murdoch has been less active and out of sight, especially since the whole succession battle has been resolved and eldest son Lachlan sits firmly atop Fox Corp. I don’t totally buy that Rupert has checked out, especially since he’s about to launch TalkTV, a new network in the U.K. So on Thursday’s episode of my podcast, The Town, I asked Jim Rutenberg, both of the Times and the new CNN+ docu-series The Murdochs: Empire of Influence, what he thinks is going on. “I’ve heard the same chatter,” Rutenberg told me. “Sometimes he does pull back. When he was just getting together with his new wife Jerry Hall, he pulled back a bit.” But, Jim cautioned, “he has time and time again roared back into the newsrooms because he sees a need.”