Forbes had been angling to get its brand on TV for years. Having tried and failed once before, it was still looking when Tim Forbes, the chief operating officer of Forbes Inc, and Roger Ailes, the Fox News chief executive, hit on a half-hour slot in a new two-hour business block for Saturday mornings.
The only hitch could have been the controversial style that Ailes was after. His grand plan for the channel is hard-hitting, fast-paced editorial.
"What Fox loves is confrontation - screaming and yelling," Peter Newcomb, one of Forbes' editors and a producer for Forbes on Fox, says. "It's not interested in everyone sedately sitting around, scratching their heads and agreeing with each other. A lot of editors (at Forbes) didn't seem very comfortable. It was a real challenge for us."
What they came up with was a four-part programme. It kicks off with "Forbes in Focus", a round-table discussion of current issues affecting business.
Then there's "Informer", which aims to give an inside track on "next week's headlines". "Makers & Breakers" is a platform for money managers to pick investment opportunities and black spots. And, finally, "Flipside", which trades on Forbes' reputation for taking a contrary point of view. The show's anchor is a former editor of The Wall Street Journal, David Asman, and the show features editors from Forbes as well as special guests.
The upbeat formula seems to have paid off. As Fox News Channel has overtaken CNN in the ratings, so its business programming is pulling in the punters.
The commercial deal is a 50-50 split between Fox and Forbes. They both sell sponsorship and they both take the same revenue.
For Forbes, it has been a chance to sell across platforms. It can add TV to its website, American Airlines radio shows, management conferences, bespoke media and events and, of course, the magazine and its supplements.
What's also been new for the brand has been the emergence from a focused business environment. "Fox isn't a business channel. We feel we're a sophisticated business magazine and that's not what Fox wants," Newcomb says. "What we've done is to bring Forbes' voice and business sense to a general news show."
Forbes on Fox has given the business brand a taste of TV success and it would like to do more. But it's not going to conquer the world market yet. The show helped to sell the concept of a two-hour TV special on The Forbes 400 (a list of the richest Americans) to the A&E network. Forbes is now looking to do a deal on another of its specials, The Celebrity 100, which looks at the wealth of top actors, athletes, chefs, authors and the like. Further, more expansive plans are yet to be chalked up.
Ad rates: $5,000 to $8,500 net per 30-second slot
Direct rivals: CNN, Lou Dobbs; CNBC, "After Hours", M Bartiromo; CNBC ,
Kudlow and Cramer; CNBC, "Wall Street" L Rukeyser
Viewership: 700,000 households
Major sponsors: Chrysler, Bearing Point, Samsung, Franklin Templeton,
Nasdaq, SAS Institute
Launched: May 2001