The network will simulcast the shock jock's radio show during the prime business-news hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. EDT., starting Oct. 5.
The deal, rumored for weeks, has led to speculation among media wonks that Rupert Murdoch has all but pulled the plug on his high-profile experiment in all-business news, which was seen as a bid to unseat rival
from its position atop the field.
But as one
producer gloated not long ago, referring to Fox's Imus move: "We won."
has struggled mightily to gain an audience since News Corp. launched the network, to much ballyhoo, in October 2007. Publicly available ratings, via
Nielsen Media Research
, do not exist for
, but the channel has been estimated to reach some 50 million households, about half as many as
(which is owned by NBC -- which, in turn, is owned by
In a press release announcing the deal, Kevin Magee,
executive vice president, made an attempt to link Imus -- who got his start making on-air crank phone calls -- to business journalism. Among other things ("40 years of on-air experience," "superb interviewing skills"), Magee cited Imus's "capitalist sensibilities."
The deal marks a comeback for the controversial radio pontificator, fired in 2007 from his previous gig for making racial comments about Rutgers University's women's basketball team.
Imus also had a line in the release. "I love Fox. Roger Ailes
president of Fox New is the preeminent genius of American Broadcasting. Who wouldn't want to do this?"
, of course, will rejigger its morning line-up. It will cancel "Money for Breakfast" (host Alexis Glick will continue in her role as anchor of "Opening Bell") and move "Fox Business Morning" to the 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. hour.
-- Written by Scott Eden in New York
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Scott Eden has covered business -- both large and small -- for more than a decade. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city's weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He's also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.