Want to know how much more work Rupert Murdoch has at News Corp. after his No. 2 Peter Chernin stepped down? Some Fox executives are expecting Murdoch to put together the primetime television schedule himself.

In a lengthy overview of Fox's new power structure after the elevation of Fox Searchlight chief Peter Rice and Fox Networks Group president Tony Vinciquerra to fill the vacuum left by Chernin, Variety drops this nugget:

If there's any question mark to the new setup, network execs wonder how active Murdoch plans to be in the pilot screenings this year. In recent years the mogul hasn't played much of a role in Fox's programming decisions, but with Chernin out of the picture, some wonder if Murdoch will feel the need to have more of a say this spring as the net plots its upfront presentation.

Murdoch has reason to believe that he has the programming touch in his blood. The last time he intervened into the affairs of Fox Broadcasting, it was to force then-TV chiefs Sandy Grushow and Gail Berman to put American Idol on the air at the recommendation of his daughter Elizabeth. That decision has to inspire confidence in his meddling abilities. And since, as we pointed out last week, Rice is a Murdoch loyalist whose father was an old friend of Rupert's—not to mention that he has no television experience—he's unlikely to stand up to the boss' suggestions about the lead-in to House.