Creator of the infamously 'fair and balanced' network signs a new contract that will keep him at the helm until 2016

Roger Ailes has signed a new contract with Fox News which will keep him in charge of the channel for the next four years, News Corp announced on Friday.

As part of the deal, Ailes will also run Fox Business Network, Fox television stations and 20th Century Television. The 72-year-old helped launch Fox News in 1996 and has been at the helm ever since.

News Corporation confirmed the deal in a statement on Friday afternoon.

News Corporation today announced that Roger Ailes has signed a new four-year contract to continue serving as Chairman and CEO of Fox News and Chairman of Fox Television Stations. Mr. Ailes, who first joined News Corporation in 1996, will continue to oversee Fox News, Fox Television Stations (FTS), Fox Business Network (FBN), Twentieth Television and MyNetwork TV.

He will also continue in his role as a senior advisor to Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch on television and news matters.

Ailes's lucrative contract -- his base salary is said to be $5m -- had been due to expire next summer.

"It's election season, and the most powerful man in America just ensured himself of four more years in office," wrote Forbes -- "a joke, but not by much".

The New York Times said the notion Ailes might retire next year has "intrigued many media observers". In October 2011 he said he had not decided whether to stay, although hinted that he may be amenable to a new offer when talking about his robust health: "If I still feel like this and somebody offers me a job in June of '13, I may just take it."

© Guardian News and Media 2012

[Image via Agence France-Presse]