Murdoch's Biggest Score

First he captured N.F.L. football. Now he's taken 12 new stations -- and network TV will never be the same.

It started out as a routine encounter between two broadcast bigwigs. On Tuesday afternoon, May 10, Rupert Murdoch welcomed a visitor to his office on the 20th Century Fox lot in Los Angeles: William Bevins, chief executive of Ronald Perelman's New World Communications Group. Murdoch and Bevins talked about each other's company, and the conversation inevitably got around to football. Eight local CBS affiliates owned by New World were about to lose their Sunday-afternoon N.F.L. games thanks to Murdoch, who last December paid $1.58 billion to take them away from CBS and bring them to the Fox network.

"We chatted for...

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