Fox News Suspends Contracts Of Newt Gingrich And Rick Santorum

Mar 2, 2011 12:19pm

ABC News' Michael Falcone reports:

UPDATED: Fox News announced on Wednesday that is has suspended the television contracts of two potential presidential candidates — Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum — for 60 days at which point they will have to inform the network whether or not they are running for president.

The suspension will remain in place until May 1 at which point their contracts with Fox News will be terminated.

Anchor Bret Baier announced the suspension on the network Wednesday morning, saying that it was the network's policy.

"This is the announcement that's being made today," Baier said. "This does not preclude other announcements that may be made in the future. But that's what we have today. The 60-day suspension and then by May 1 a determination whether they're going to run and then those contracts will be terminated."

Baier did not elaborate on whether other potential candidates with Fox, including Sarah Palin, John Bolton and Mike Huckabee, who hosts his own weekly show on the network, would also face similar suspensions.

But in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Dianne Brandi, the network's executive vice president of legal and business affairs, said: "As soon as each of them shows some serious intention to form an exploratory committee, we would take the same action."

When it comes to Palin, Brandi told the Times: "She hasn't yet shown a serious intention to form an exploratory committee." Brandi also said that Fox News informed Santorum and Gingrich of the suspension in letters sent Tuesday night.

“Over the past few years, I have appreciated the opportunity to work with many great professionals at Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network to discuss the critical issues facing our country," Santorum said in a statement. "I share in their commitment to ensure news organizations provide balanced coverage of the issues of the day.  I intend to use the months ahead to continue my evaluation of a potential presidential run, and I will make an announcement on my final decision sometime in the coming months.”

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