How bad are things looking for News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch in the wake of the News of the World phone hacking scandal? This bad: If he screws up enough during Tuesday's parliamentary hearing, he may be replaced as CEO by jauntily-mustachioed COO Chase Carey.

Even if he stepped down as CEO, Murdoch would remain chairman, and retain the dirigible from which he directs his steam-powered robot army. But it'd a major blow to his hold on the company, and Bloomberg spoke with multiple anonymous sources who said that the move is under serious consideration—though "a decision hasn't been made." Apparently, it may come down to Murdoch's performance in front of the U.K. Parliament on Tuesday... and it's not looking good:

News Corp. executives who watched Murdoch, 80, rehearse for his appearance were concerned about how he handled questions, according to three people, who weren't authorized to speak publicly.

Of course, board members are denying Bloomberg's reports through Reuters ("This board totally supports the top management. We're united behind him."), so there's no guarantee that Murdoch is gone, even if he answers every question with a jerk-off gesture as we expect him to. Either way, the hearings will make for excellent television.

[Bloomberg; images via AP]


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