Based on the book The Loudest Voice in the Room by Gabriel Sherman, the American drama revolving around former FOX News CEO Roger Ailes (Russell Crowe) is set to premiere on July 1st this year.
The seven-part limited series focuses mainly on the past ten years of Ailes’ life and how he has arguably helped mould the recent political landscape of America — including the Bush administration and the Trump Presidency — through both FOX news and the Republican Party. The show also offers audiences a closer look at the sexual harassment issues that have peppered Ailes’ career, as well as his rise in political power.
Crowe, almost unrecognizable under layers of makeup and prosthetic fat, plays the ex-FOX Chairman and CEO. Other key roles include news anchor Gretchen Carlson, played by Naomi Watts, the first of several women who would eventually file sexual harassment cases against Ailes. The critical role of Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul who tapped Ailes for FOX News, is played by Simon McBurney.
The Loudest Voice features a critical year in Ailes’ career with each episode. This includes meeting Murdoch, Carlson’s sexual harassment case, and his role in both the Bush and Obama administration.
While the series takes audiences on the journey of this past decade in Ailes’ life, there is a lot more behind the abhorrent man that he turned out to become. Here’s a glimpse into the volumes that led up to Ailes’ becoming the loudest voice.
The Young Ailes
Born in 1940 in Warren, Ohio, Ailes grew up with an abusive father who would eventually divorce his mother when Ailes was twenty years old. As a child, Ailes suffered from haemophilia which would often result in him being hospitalized.
Two years after his parents’ divorce, Ailes graduated from Ohio University with a major in radio and television.
Rise in Television
Ailes’ journey in network television started when he was a production assistant at KYW-TV in Cleveland, Philadelphia. Within seven years, Ailes rose from production assistant to executive producer. He would then eventually become the executive producer for The Mike Douglas Show, a local variety talk show that ultimately got syndicated nationally and earned Ailes several Emmy awards.
After a long stint in politics, Ailes returned to television under cable news. This is when Ailes truly had his rise to power — he would become the president of CNBC, created the “American Talking Channel” (which turned into MSNBC), and most importantly, got called on by Rupert Murdoch to become CEO of FOX news. This paved the way for Ailes’ to become the chairman of the Fox Television Stations after the departure of Lachlan Murdoch.
Rise in Politics
Murdoch stepped into the world of politics after having interviewed Richard Nixon in 1967 on The Michael Douglas Show. Nixon’s impression of Ailes resulted in the former president asking Ailes to become his administration’s Executive Producer for television. Ailes’ skill and talent helped frame national and local issues in Nixon’s favour as well as made Nixon more likable and overall, more approved, by the American audience.
Ailes’ would go on to help the campaigns of candidates like Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Richard Thornburgh — the latter unsuccessfully getting into the senate. Perhaps one of the more pivotal moments of Ailes’ career was his charge after the 9/11 attacks, in which he helped pushed the agenda and approval ratings of the Bush administration.
After sexual harassment cases forced Ailes to resign from FOX news, the disgraced ex-CEO became an adviser for Donald Trump during his presidential campaign, playing a large role in Trump’s eventual presidency.
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