Fox News Ad Sales Chief Paul Rittenberg to Depart

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Paul Rittenberg
Paul Rittenberg

Fox News ad sales chief Paul Rittenberg is stepping down from the cable news network.

Mr. Rittenberg, who has led ad sales for Fox News and Fox Business Network since the inception of each, will depart on April 28, according to the company. A Fox News spokeswoman said a successor will be named in the coming months.

His departure comes as cable news networks experience a resurgence following the presidential election and high interest in the early days of the Trump White House.

Mr. Rittenberg joins a growing list of ad sales vets who have stepped down or announced their retirement in recent months, including Joe Abruzzese at Discovery Communications, AMC Networks' Arlene Manos and Seth Winter, who spent a decade at NBC leading ad sales for sports.

Also on that list is Toby Byrne, who exited his post leading ad sales at Fox Networks Group in September. Fox is currently seeking his replacement.

Fox News ad sales has always operated separately from its parent Fox Networks Group, even after the company combined ad sales efforts for its broadcast, cable and digital assets under one umbrella.

A Fox News spokeswoman said the it will continue to sell ad time outside of the Fox Networks Group portfolio.

Mr. Rittenberg joined Fox News in 1996, six months before the channel went live, as VP of ad sales, making him one of the first employees.

It's been quite a year for Fox News. Star anchor Megyn Kelly announced earlier in the year that she would leave the network for NBC News. That followed the departure of former chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, who was ousted last summer after former anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a suit against Mr. Ailes alleging that he sexually harassed her. He denies the allegations.

Still, Fox News was the most-watched cable network in 2016 in both primetime and total day, topping ESPN. The network averaged 2.4 million total viewers in primetime during the year, making it the channel's most-watched year ever.

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