Fox Business lures Gasparino away from CNBC
Tuesday, February 16, 2010; 7:38 PM
The fledgling Fox Business Network has stolen a big name from CNBC.
Charlie Gasparino, who has a knack for breaking financial stories and sometimes talking himself into trouble, used a window in his unexpired contract with the much bigger business network to join the upstart operation.
"I always wanted to work for Fox," Gasparino says. "I don't take chances with stories. I do take entrepreneurial chances with my career."
While Gasparino is said to have felt underappreciated at CNBC, he says he is leaving on "very amicable" terms and "going to a place that, if you can make it work, I'll be part of a team that builds something. And that's very appealing to me."
Kevin Magee, the Fox executive who runs the business channel, calls Gasparino "a big get for us. Charlie Gasparino is a terrific reporter. He's also a great television character. He's got a great command of the screen. We're determined not to have a channel with nothing but bland people."
A former Wall Street Journal and Newsweek reporter, Gasparino was the first to report that the federal government was considering a bailout of the insurance giant American International Group. He is the author of several books, including "The Sellout: How Three Decades of Wall Street Greed and Government Mismanagement Destroyed the Global Financial System." Gasparino has occasionally gotten into on-air spats with his CNBC colleagues and once phoned in for a live interview while battling a hangover.
Gasparino denies that tensions at CNBC were a factor in his decision, saying "newsrooms are generally seething places" and he tends to "wear my heart on my sleeve." But he did issue a warning to his former employer: "My job is to rip the lungs out of the competition for Fox Business Network."
Fox Business reaches 50 million homes, about half as many as CNBC. In recent weeks the Fox channel has averaged between 50,000 and 80,000 viewers. CNBC drew 236,000 last month, a 24 percent drop over the previous year but still several times larger than Fox's audience.
After operating since 2007 in relative obscurity, Fox Business is feeling a bit of momentum with the hiring of Don Imus and former ABC anchor John Stossel.