Fox News Chief Produced On B’way

Years before he was the evil overlord of Fox News, Roger Ailes was a Broadway producer. Specifically, he produced a 1972 musical called “Mother Earth.” It starred Patti Austin (she of James Ingram duet fame). The show flopped big time. If the musical had been a big hit, and Ailes had become a regular David Merrick, would Fox News never have been hatched? Drama critics, in other words, are to blame for Fox News, because if they have hurled bravos not brickbats then “Mother Earth” would have zoomed to Tonys. Btw, here’s a fun fact buried in “Mother Earth“‘s credits: Kenneth Shearer is credited with “visuals” for the show. His wife then was Toni Shearer. Stung by the show’s failure, they divorced a few months later, and she went on to marry Daryl (the Captain) Dragon, who had met her when he played keyboards in the show’s band during its tryout. They became — you guessed it — the Captain & Tennille. Amazing: one flop Broadway show is responsible for the birth of Fox News and “Muskrat Love.”

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