‘Succession’: The Roys have quite a lot of similarities with the Murdochs

The actors and creators of the award-winning sequence, which is able to compete for extra statues at Monday’s Emmy Awards, insist that the characters are impressed by an extended record of family-run dynastic enterprises — each previous and current. Showrunner Jesse Armstrong mentioned in a single behind-the-scenes interview that the writers pulled from “famous media families like the Hearsts, to modern-day Redstone, John Malone, Robert Fitz of Comcast, Murdoch, and Robert and Rebekah Mercer, who founded Breitbart.”

A patriarchal family-run enterprise

The premise of the sequence, which airs on HBO, which like CNN is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, is virtually ripped from the Murdoch playbook.

Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp and co-chairman of 21st Century Fox, in 2018.

Logan Roy, a ruthless dealmaker and a buddy of presidents, actually possesses a Murdoch-ian vibe.

Rupert Murdoch grew the small newspaper firm that he inherited from his father in 1952 into some of the highly effective conservative media empires in historical past. Information Corp, with a market cap of $13.50 billion, is likely one of the most influential firms on the planet.

He at all times supposed to go down his firm to certainly one of his kids, however the 91-year-old has by no means named a successor.

Household construction

Jeremy Strong and Brian Cox in Season 2 of "Succession."

Like Roy, the thrice-wed Murdoch has a number of kids from two marriages.

Prudence Macleod is Rupert’s oldest little one from his first marriage. Prudence by no means confirmed a lot of an curiosity in working the household enterprise, so she has largely stayed out of the succession battle that ensnares her siblings.

Rupert Murdoch’s oldest son from his second marriage is Lachlan Murdoch, who rose shortly by way of the ranks and have become chairman and chief government of Information Ltd in 1997.

On the time, his father described Lachlan as his inheritor obvious, “the first among equals.” Then, in 2005 he abruptly give up after a battle with Fox Information Channel CEO Roger Ailes over the course of the cable information community — successfully taking himself off the inheritor obvious monitor. Lachlan returned to the household enterprise in 2014.
Who's who: Meet the Murdoch Family

The household additionally consists of Rupert Murdoch’s youngest son, James Murdoch, who dropped out of Harvard in 1995 to begin his personal hip-hop file label.

James Murdoch joined Information Company and was more and more seen as the brand new inheritor obvious after Lachlan Murdoch give up in 2005. However he stepped down in 2011 after he was engulfed in a telephone hacking scandal. After a number of years of hiatus, he rejoined the household enterprise earlier than in the end resigned in 2020, citing “disagreements over certain editorial content published by the Company’s news outlets and certain other strategic decisions.”

Elisabeth Murdoch is the one daughter of their father’s second marriage.

“She’s very savvy, very cunning. She is perhaps the most like Rupert,” New York Occasions author Jim Rutenberg says of Elisabeth within the CNN Authentic Sequence “The Murdochs: Empire of Influence.”

Rupert Murdoch flanked by his sons Lachlan (left) and James (right) in 2016.

Rupert Murdoch has been dismissive of her makes an attempt to take the throne, saying she wants to determine what number of kids she wished to have earlier than planning additional development on the firm, Sky Excessive writer Mathew Horsman mentioned within the sequence.

In 2000, she left the household enterprise and based one of many UK’s largest impartial manufacturing firms.

On “Succession,” Logan Roy has 4 kids. Eldest Connor Roy (Alan Ruck) is generally faraway from the enterprise and, in the latest season, set his eyes on the presidency. Kendall Roy (Jeremy Sturdy) initially sits because the ostensible inheritor obvious to his father, however after a sequence of blows, he falls from his father’s graces.

Roy household youngest, quick-witted Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin), has had a tough time proving himself worthy of the highest spot. Sarah Snook’s Siobhan (or Shiv), in the meantime, has the abilities and her father’s favor (even after they’re at bitter odds), however has been met resistance.

The media empire and community

Ashley Zukerman and Sarah Snook on the set of ATN in "Succession."

“Succession’s” Waystar Royco and the Murdoch’s Information Corp. have quite a lot of factors of overlap.

On “Succession,” Waystar Royco’s belongings embody conservative cable information community ATN, the present’s model of Fox Information.

All through the sequence, Logan Roy speaks with the president and his advisers in regards to the community’s protection of the White Home and flexes their entry.

Fox Information is a software of affect for Rupert Murdoch, Jonathan Mahler, who co-wrote “How Rupert Murdoch’s Empire of Influence Remade the World,” says in “The Murdochs: Empire of Influence.”

“Rupert had always fantasized about having a close relationship with an American President,” says Mahler.

Main scandal

Jeremy Strong and Brian Cox testify about the cruiseship scandal in "Succession."

In Season 2 of “Succession,” information leaks that Waystar’s cruise ship division buried inside stories of sexual harassment, assault and probably homicide. The scandal pressured Logan Roy and his son Kendall Roy to testify earlier than a US senate subcommittee — one other strike in Kendall’s pursuit of energy.

James and Rupert Murdoch speak at a Parliamentary Select Committee about the UK phone hacking scandal in 2011.
The debacle shares similarities with the Information Corp.’s hacking scandal in 2011. The firm’s British newspaper, Information of the World, got here underneath scrutiny when it was found reporters had been hacking the telephones of royals, celebrities and crime victims to get their tales. Like a mirror picture of the present, Rupert Murdoch, alongside his son James, testified earlier than Parliament’s Tradition, Media and Sport Committee.

Within the fallout, James gave up his title as government chairman of Information Corp’s UK publishing unit.

“You would imagine, in a situation like this, a father’s instinct might be to protect his son, but James is really thrown under the bus by his father,” mentioned Mahler. “It’s a humiliating and devastating period for him.”

Promoting off the empire

Kieran Culkin, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Brian Cox in the finale of season three of "Succession."

Each Rupert and Logan pulled off a transfer that left folks shocked: Promoting off their self-made empires.

Within the finale of Season 3, Logan broadcasts his plan to promote Waystar Royco to streaming firm GoJo and provides tech founder Lukas Matsson management of the corporate.

“This is the best moment to sell. If I don’t do the best deal at any given point, what’s the point of anything? I don’t get out, I leave $5 billion on the table,” Logan informed his kids. “Make your own pile. This is an opportunity for you kids to get an education in real life.”

Rupert additionally selected to money out in 2018, promoting off most of twenty first Century Fox to Disney.

“Once the Disney deal closed, Fox was left a shell of its former self. Gone was the movie studio, gone was the cable networks like FX. What was left was the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports, and Fox News — the thing that Rupert cares about more than anything,” Matthew Belloni, former editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter and founding accomplice of Puck Information, says within the Murdoch sequence.

Rudenberg says this transfer was seen as a no-confidence vote in his kids.

“By making his family the business, and the business his family, Rupert left his family just as broken up as his company was when he sold to Disney,” mentioned Rutenberg. “It was ripped apart by this decades-long battle for succession which, at the same time, was a zero-sum seeming battle for their father’s love.”

Right this moment, Lachlan Murdoch is the CEO of Fox Corp and his father serves as co-chairman. Each James and Elisabeth have left the household enterprise.

The way forward for Logan’s kids could be very unsure because the sequence heads into its fourth season.

A premiere date has not been introduced.

“The Murdochs: Empire of Influence,” a CNN Authentic Sequence produced in partnership with The New York Occasions, explores the legacy of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and the extreme succession battle between his kids. It premieres Sunday, September 25, at 9 p.m. ET.