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A look back on the life of Roger Ailes

May 18, 2017 GMT
Roger Ailes speaks at a news conference as Rupert Murdoch looks on after it was announced that Ailes will be chairman and CEO of Fox News. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Roger Ailes speaks at a news conference as Rupert Murdoch looks on after it was announced that Ailes will be chairman and CEO of Fox News. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Born in Warren, Ohio on May 15, 1940, Roger Ailes rose from local TV in Cleveland, Ohio, to build the Fox News Channel, changing the face of 24-hour news only to be ousted in a sex harassment scandal in 2016.

Here’s a look back at AIles’ life and career.

1962: Mike Douglas

After graduating from Ohio University, Ailes lands an entry-level position on a Cleveland TV station’s local talk and entertainment program starring Mike Douglas, a former big-band singer. Ailes rises to executive producer as “The Mike Douglas Show,” relocates to Philadelphia and gains hit status in national syndication.

1968: Richard Nixon

Ailes enters the political arena after offering his services as a media adviser to a guest on the “Douglas” show, former Vice President Richard Nixon. Nixon hires Ailes to help him up his game on television during his successful run for the White House.

1970s-80s: Consulting

After founding Ailes Communications, he serves as a communications consultant to corporations and Republican candidates. Helps launch Television News Incorporated, a right-wing TV network funded by conservative brewing magnate Joseph Coors that folds five years later.

1984: Ronald Reagan

Ailes works as a political consultant to Reagan during his re-election campaign.

1987-88: George H. W. Bush

Ailes helps guide Bush through the Republican presidential primaries and his come-from-behind victory over Democrat Michael Dukakis.

1989-91: Rudy Giuliani

Ailes manages the unsuccessful first campaign by Rudolph Giuliani for mayor of New York, and the failed campaign of Jim Courter for governor of New Jersey. His last campaign is the unsuccessful race by Richard Thornburgh for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania in 1991. Ailes also produces conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh’s short-lived syndicated TV show.

1993-1996: A return to television

Ailes declaring he is through with politics and joins NBC to run its cable business network, CNBC. He is credited with boosting CNBC’s ratings and putting that troubled NBC subsidiary in the black. Meanwhile, he creates another network, the talk-and-advice-oriented America’s Talking.

Oct. 6, 1996: Fox News

Fox News Channel goes on the air, with Ailes its founding CEO, three months after MSNBC signs on.

1998: Marriage

Ailes marries Elizabeth Tilson, a programming executive with whom he had worked at CNBC.

July 2016: Scandal

As Fox News Channel nears its 20th anniversary, a lawsuit filed by former Fox host Gretchen Carlson leads to Ailes’ resignation from the network. Fox parent company 21st Century later settled with Carlson. The scandal would later widen to other key figures at the network, including show host Bill O’Reilly.

May 18, 2017: Dies at 77

Ailes’ wife Elizabeth announces that her husband has died. The cause of death and where Ailes died was not reported.