Review | CNN’s ‘The Murdochs’ doc is real-life ‘Succession’ — and no less dramatic

He may be the most powerful media mogul in the world. His influence on world affairs is incredible. In a new documentary, Roger StoneOf all people, he has been called “the most ruthless businessman in the history of the world.” And yet, for at least the past four years, millions have obsessed over his most glaring (and rather surprising) weakness: the inability to settle on an heir to take over 91-year-old Rupert Murdoch’s empire. He is building from the past. Seven decades

The reason for this obsession is, of course, HBO’s cultural dominance.Succession“At least among Chetrati. Its creator, Jesse Armstrong, has taken care to distance his show from the Murdochs, claiming that the wonderfully cringe-y Rise is inspired by him. Many modern-day families.

By contrast, the upcoming seven-part documentary “The Murdochs: Empire of Influence,” which debuts Sunday with a two-hour premiere on CNN, models itself quite clearly after it. Emmy Clearing Drama. Will the future of Fox News — the flagship of the mainstream conservative movement — be led by Lachlan, the eldest son and onetime nemesis of Roger Ailes; his ambitious but more politically moderate younger brother James; Or his very capable older sister Elizabeth, who is considered most like Rupert himself?

“The Murdochs” (The Mur-doc?) deftly dramatizes the horse race between three adult siblings, who share a mother in Rupert’s second wife, Anna Toro. In a notable departure from “Succession,” though, Murdoch’s offspring don’t appear as fatally incompetent as the younger Royce. Pitted against each other, they prove to be their father’s children in both their business acumen and moral resilience. But at various points, each tries to separate themselves from their father, and much of the suspense lies in how Rupert plans to bring them back under his influence.

But the “Murdochs” don’t need Rise. The series is fantastic enough on its own. Although the visuals are mostly drawn from old interviews, archive material and (provocative) stock images, they’re so slickly edited and interspersed with talking heads that you don’t miss the subjects. Hoti, who chose not to participate. An extraordinary chronicle of Rupert’s improbable career, the doc alternates between action-packed stories and insightful analyzes of the mogul’s MOs, such as his championing of low-key tastes and Deal-making with politicians Ready to give him future blessings. More than once, he throws his own flesh and blood under the bus for the sake of the child he probably loves the most: his business.

“The Murdochs” feels like a product of CNN’s final chapter in more ways than one. The documentaries were originally produced for its former streaming service, CNN Plus. who was killed Less than a month after launch. It’s also an unabashed tour de force of the scandals that have plagued the family — the kind that are hard to imagine under the network’s current regime, which has Indicated intention. Moving to the right after the Trump years.

‘Is anyone clean?’: John Harwood’s exit from CNN is seen as a change of strategy.

But the Doctor is fair, even balanced. For one, Rupert’s business savvy has high praise. In the 1980s, he decided that the biggest competition for his newspapers was not his print rivals but television, so he founded a fourth TV network – a feat that in 30 years had the U.S. No one had tried. At the time, hardly anyone believed Fox would survive. Likewise, a terrifying close call of a kidnapping in London with tragic consequences – one involving Anna and the headline “They took the wrong wife!” – Can’t help but feel sympathy for the family.

“The Murdochs,” though, are just as convincing about the ruthlessness of their namesake. Old anger, like time Rupert’s prospect Firing Engineer More than 5,000 union newsroom workers in London swooped together in support of Margaret Thatcher, which is worth re-watching, as are the full accounts of recent scandals, such as Totally Infuriating. UK phone hacking scam In the mid-2000s and early 2010s.

For someone like Rupert, who “ma[de] His family’s business and business His family, as one commentator puts it, became more complicated for his successors when Rupert left Anna and married Wendy Deng in 1999, He had two more children. (Since the documentary’s streaming premiere in March, Rupert has divorced his most recent wife, Jeri Hall.)

Later chapters deal with Fox News and Rupert. Ups and downs in relationship with Donald Trump are very familiar. But if there are fewer revelations, the ever-uncertain rivalry between the siblings keeps the momentum going. The Doctor never provides a full sense of how his lifelong attempts to impress his father have affected the children’s relationships with each other – incidentally, a certain power of “Succession”. These later episodes finally offer us some clues, with the Murdochs, like much of the Republican elite, apparently on the sidelines in response to the rise of Trump. Lachlan Even further to the right, James to the center.

Finally, Rupert has a solution to the dilemma that has plagued him for decades – one that ensures he never has to choose between his children, while he Ask them to look for the best among themselves. But perhaps Doctor Who is seen not as a reflection of one man’s indecision about his legacy, but as our collective distraction from its terrifying enormity.

The Murdochs: Empire of Influence (one hour) with episodes 1 and 2 premiering Sundays at 9 p.m. on CNN. New episodes air weekly.

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