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News Corp. wins one and loses one

Kind of a mixed day at the Rupert Murdoch homestead. He suffered a major loss when News Corp. president Peter Chernin jumped overboard, then made up for it a little when Fox News hired Michael Clemente away from ABC.

Clemente Clemente, who will be senior vice president of news, spent 27 years at ABC, where at various times he produced World News Tonight, 20/20, and This Week With David Brinkley. Lately he's been working on the digital side of the network, both ABC.com and ABC News Now, the first 24/7 broadband news channel.

Clemente's obviously a good guy to have around, but the loss of Chernin could have far-reaching consequences not just for Murdoch's empire but Hollywood as a whole. Chernin joined the company in 1989 and developed The Simpsons, In Living Color and Beverly Hills 90210, makingprobably the single individual most responsible for building Fox from a fringe collection of Chernin low-power channels into a major network. He helped land American Idol for Fox and My Space for News Corp. and was one of the architects of Hulu, the Fox joint venture with NBC that marked the first big step toward marrying network television to the Internet.

And last year Chernin was a major force in forging a compromise between striking Hollywood writers and the studios. If the ongoing contract talks between the Screen Actors Guild and the studios go south, it's not at all clear who would or could play Chernin's role as peacemaker.

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