5/12/07

NYT on Murdoch

Tilting at a Digital Future

Published: May 13, 2007

IN Rupert Murdoch’s world, two things are certain: the sun never sets on the kingdom, and a TV is always on in the background.

Rupert Murdoch, from his office in Manhattan, oversees holdings that include television, film, satellite TV and newspapers.

On the evening of April 26, several large television monitors adorned the terrace of Mr. Murdoch’s Beverly Hills mansion for a dinner celebrating a special edition of “American Idol” that raised more than $70 million to fight poverty. An Asian noodle station was set out by the pool; nearby, sushi chefs busily sliced tuna for “Idol” co-hosts Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest, and seven, hyperactive “Idol” finalists who, when they weren’t clamoring around megastar Tom Cruise, dreamily watched themselves on the big screens. Wendi Deng, Mr. Murdoch’s wife, wore a billowy, green dress and introduced their 5-year-old daughter, Grace, to guests before sending her to bed.

Mr. Murdoch casually sipped wine and chatted with his daughter, Elisabeth, and other guests. He had planned for the event to be an early dinner party, but he finally headed to bed at 1 a.m., leaving music impresario Quincy Jones and others chatting on a sofa. After all, he had work to do.

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