Since joining the staff of the locally-produced “Mike Douglas Show” in Cleveland in 1962, Roger Ailes quickly ascended to national importance, becoming executive producer of the nationally syndicated show at the age of 27.
A spirited discussion with then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon on the set of “The Mike Douglas Show” set Ailes on a meteoric rise in the worlds of politics, communications and broadcast. He was selected by Nixon to become the campaign’s executive producer of TV. After a short stint at the Nixon White House, Roger Ailes founded Ailes Communications, Inc., and consulted for various businesses, politicians and also WCBS-TV in New York. He also delved into theater production, producing two plays, including the long-running hit Hot l Baltimore. He also produced a number of network specials and documentaries, including Emmy-nominated Fellini: Wizard, Clowns and Honest Liars. Ailes had already received two Emmy awards for his work on The Mike Douglas Show in 1967 and 1968.
Roger Ailes returned to the presidential arena in 1984, working closely with President Ronald Reagan during his re-election campaign. Ailes is credited for reviving the President’s fortunes after a less-than-stellar first debate with rival Walter Mondale.
In 1984, Roger Ailes won his third Emmy Award as executive producer and director of a television special, Television and the Presidency. In 1988, Ailes wrote a book with Jon Kraushar, You Are the Message: Secrets of the Master Communicators, in which he discusses some of his philosophies and strategies for successful performance in the public media eye.
Roger Ailes was a crucial player in the election campaign of George H.W. Bush, serving as a media adviser to bring the Vice President to a come-from-behind victory over Michael Dukakis.
Ailes continued his political consulting work until 1991, when he returned to his television roots, first as a producer, and then becoming the president of cable network CNBC. He also hosted the well-recived program Straight Forward.
Roger Ailes left CNBC in 1995 and assumed the helm of the fledgling Fox News Channel in 1996. The rest is (remarkable) history.