This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," February 4, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Did any of you, in the meantime — something not to cry over, unless you are a Patriots fan — catch that incredible Super Bowl game last night? You were not alone, 97.5 million viewers joining you in what was the most talked about and now officially the most watched Super Bowl ever.
I’m sure all of this is very good news for my next guest, whose FOX Broadcasting carried the game.
Joining me now from Los Angeles, Rupert Murdoch, the chief executive officer and chairman of FOX parent, not to mention this channel’s parent, News Corporation.
Mr. Murdoch, welcome. Congratulations.
RUPERT MURDOCH, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, NEWS CORP: Thank you, Neil. And congratulations on your predictions of the game.
CAVUTO: Yes, but that was — that was just a fluke, I have got to tell you.
MURDOCH: Well, what are you predicting for the market?
CAVUTO: Well, I hope better than what we have got.
CAVUTO: I do want to get into that, because we are down 100 points today, and you are just out with earnings that surprised the Street. They’re up across the board, operating income at one point $4 billion, a nearly 24 percent increase, revenue growth 10 percent.
Your company, at least at this point, and judging from the strong response to the Super Bowl, in terms of advertising, is not seeing the recession everyone in the media is talking about. Or have you just been lucky?
MURDOCH: No, I don’t think we have been lucky. I hope we have been good.
But we are also — yesterday, for instance, we had the greatest day ever in the history of our network, probably any network. We took over $250 million in revenue. And it was a great game. And you said 97 million people viewed it. I believe it was very much more than that.
CAVUTO: Yes, those are the conservative numbers. The number to beat, of course, is that final episode of "MASH," 106 million. What, I think that goes back to the early ‘80s, but I think you’re going to be able to beat that.
But, obviously, it was a special game, special circumstances, an unusual drama. Could that be repeated, do you think?
MURDOCH: Well, we hope so. Well, we only — we only do the Super Bowl every three years.
CAVUTO: Right. Right. You better hope that this kind of drama is every three years.
MURDOCH: That’s right.
CAVUTO: Let me talk to you a little bit about what is in the earnings today. And, of course, you are still benefiting in the business, the broadcast business, strong advertising.
I guess, every time you get a report like this, Mr. Murdoch, people ask, particularly on the advertising front, whether you are seeing any signs yet of a slowdown, because I guess you would feel and see it before others.
MURDOCH: No, we’re not. But we are pretty much booked out on our network certainly for the rest of this fiscal year.
We are very happy. Revenues are holding well around the world. You know, there’s little towns — cities where we have local stations which are feeling the housing downturn, but other places, like New York, are stronger than ever.
Besides the good numbers that you registered here, Mr. Murdoch, everybody was abuzz when The New York Post, your — your signature paper in the United States, besides The Wall Street Journal, had endorsed Barack Obama. What was behind that? Some are insinuating that maybe ill will with Hillary Clinton. What?
MURDOCH: No. There is no ill will with Senator Clinton at all. And, in fact, we have a very friendly relationship.
But I think the editorial board there and the editors felt that Obama was a real chance for something new, and we didn’t agree with a lot of Mrs. Clinton’s national policies, although we did think she had been a very good senator in New York State.
CAVUTO: All right. So, this had nothing to do with the fact that Hillary Clinton — I am not saying kowtowed, but did not make it a point to seek out the Post editorial board to explain her positions or any of this that has been rumored, none of that?
MURDOCH: None in the least, no.
MURDOCH: And she is quite available to our editorial board.
MURDOCH: She’s made that quite clear.
CAVUTO: Let me ask you about the writers strike, talk, sir, that we’re very close to a settlement.
I know there had been talk that Peter Chernin, your president, had been in discussions, along with Bob Iger at ABC, Disney, to try to get the sides together. Where do they stand now? Do you know?
MURDOCH: No. They are still talking. There is no — nothing that I could comment on at this stage.
CAVUTO: All right.
Is it fair to say, though, that, the more time we delay here, fall programming itself could be jeopardized?