As the fallout from yesterday’s surprise news of Peter Chernin’s departure from News Corp. continues, some media outlets have begun to speculate that the TV and film production deal Chernin’s signing with Fox is just a temporary gig and he might have bigger plans for the future. Here’s some of the most common speculation about Chernin’s ultimate destination:
Private equity or venture capital: Rupert’s former No. 2 may make private equity or venture capital investments in digital media either through an existing firm or by setting up his own shop. There’s also talk of him joining Providence Capital or becoming part of a group of investors that could buy NBC-Universal from GE.
Viacom: Pali Research’s Rich Greenfield thinks the friendly Chernin would be an ideal replacement for the inaccessible Philippe Dauman: “While we have a hard time believing Peter Chernin … would ever consider working for someone like Sumner Redstone, not to mention he probably has a lengthy non-compete, we believe hiring Chernin would be the smartest move Mr. Redstone could make. Investors loath Viacom’s senior management team (including Redstone and Dauman) and would welcome a trusted executive such as Chernin (in both the Hollywood creative community and Wall Street), who oversaw tremendous growth in cable network and film assets at News Corp.” Viacom might be one of the only media companies Chernin could jump to now, particularly since most of them—Time Warner, Paramount, NBC-Universal, MGM, and Disney—either have long term commitments with their current CEOs, in the case of Paramount’s Brad Grey, MGM’s Harry Sloan and Disney’s Bob Iger, or those execs just started in their new positions, like TWX’s Jeff Bewkes and NBC-Universal’s Jeff Zucker. But Fortune agrees he might just be biding time until a corner office opens up at another conglomerate.
Politics: Fortune claims Chernin could make a run for Governor of California (look out, Meg Whitman) or take a role in the Obama administration.