AOL Outcast Jon Miller to Join News Corp.'s Soap Opera in Progress
Rupert Murdoch's media empire continues its turmoil after the announcement of COO Peter Chernin's departure. The newest player: Former AOL CEO Jon Miller, who's widely expected to take the top digital job there.
A sign of how insular the world of big media is: Confirmation of Miller's job offer comes from Ross Levinsohn, who held much the same job before leaving News Corp. to start a venture-capital fund with Miller.
It's all a crazy waiting game until the aging mogul can install his wayward children in power. Most believe that's the reason why Chernin left, as it grew increasingly clear that Murdoch would never let the Hollywood hired hand become CEO of News Corp. But there are plenty of takers for the big jobs available in the meantime.
Miller replaces Fox Interactive Media chief Peter Levinsohn, who, as many inside News Corp. expected, is taking a job with the L.A.-based Fox TV and movie units. Miller, though, will have more power than Levinsohn, running pretty much everything with a URL attached and reporting directly to Murdoch. He'll need that authority to rein in wayward MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe, who has long resisted reporting to the suits rotating through the executive suite of Fox Interactive Media.
If he takes the job, that is. Papers aren't signed yet, for reasons that are mostly legalese. Miller was ousted as AOL's CEO in 2006, replaced by the astoundingly awful Randy Falco. He's since been looking for a comeback, most recently through the VC firm Velocity Interactive Group — but he's been stymied by a noncompete agreement with AOL parent Time Warner, whose CEO, Jeff Bewkes, nastily decided to enforce after Yahoo invited Miller to join its board.
That noncompete ends in three days. Assuming Miller accepts the offer, and it seems like it would be enormously embarrassing for him not to, he'd be ending one long-running drama and joining another.