The Loudest Voice

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Loudest Voice TV Poster Image
Dramatic Fox CEO biopic has strong sexual themes, cursing.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

It documents the rise and fall of Roger Aisles as the CEO of Fox News. It underscores the toxic culture he promoted, and addresses the talent in creating Fox News. Sexism, racism, and political conservatism are all addressed in some way throughout the series. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ailes is portrayed as sexist, racist, and abusive. He’s also portrayed as a media and political genius. Many of his staff enable his abusive behavior.  

Violence

Yelling and bullying behavior is frequent. Guns are visible. Images of the collapse of the towers on 9/11 are shown. 

Sex

Strong sexual innuendo. Lots of sexist comments and crude references like “p-ssy”and “d-ck.” There are many references to inappropriate relationships and aduluty. Women are shown being sexually harassed. A woman is scantily clad in underwear and then sexually exploited. 

Language

Lot of cursing, including prolific use of the word f--k.

Consumerism

Lots of references to popular news organizations, but these are offered in context. Characters use Apple computers.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine and hard liquor are consumed during meals, meetings, and inappropriate sexual encounters. Cigarette smoking and prescription medications are used. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Loudest Voice is an adult-oriented series about the late Fox News Network CEO Roger Ailes, who is played by Russell Crowe. The series follows the rise of Fox News Network under Ailes' leadership and contains strong themes centering on sexual harassment and sexual exploitation. There are crude sexual references, misogynist comments, and racist epithets. There's lots of cursing, including prolific use of the word f--k. Drinking and cigarette smoking is also visible. Despite making Fox News a huge financial and commercial success, Ailes is depicted as abusive and very unlikeable. Parents watching with teens can tackle conversations around the serious topics that are addressed in this show, such as #MeToo and the huge impact media has on shaping public opinion on issues from gun control to from climate change to politics. 

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What's the story?

THE LOUDEST VOICE, a dramatic miniseries based on Gabriel Sherman’s unauthorized 2014 biography, The Loudest Voice In the Room, follows the last two decades of conservative TV executive and political consultant Roger Ailes’ professional life. It’s 1995, and Ailes (Russell Crowe) leaves what was then CNBC and is hired by Fox Broadcasting creator Rupert Murdoch (Simon McBurney) as the new CEO of Fox News. He is divisive and offensive, but his media and political acumen, along with his micromanaging style, contributes to the success of the politically influential news network. During Ailes' rise he’s supported by a loyal team of staffers, including producer and eventual Vice-President Bill Shine (Josh Stamberg), public relations executive Brian Lewis (Seth MacFarlane), and his quiet, but extremely devoted assistant, Judy Laterza (Aleksa Palladino). Also faithfully standing by his side is his third wife, Beth (Sienna Miller). But when former Fox host Gretchen Carlson (Naomi Watts) sues him for sexual harassment, and financial settlements meant to silence female employees like Laurie Luhn (Annabelle Wallis) come to light, his position as a media powerhouse is threatened. 

Is it any good?

This disturbing TV adaptation of Gabriel Sherman’s work presents Ailes as the unpleasant and abusive man he was known to be at Fox News Network. While this serves to magnify the experiences of the women who were harassed and abused by him, and to implicate the people who enabled this behavior, it fails to show how truly groundbreaking the work he did at Fox was, and how it completely transformed (for better or for worse) cable news into what it is today. It also understates the influence he had over the Republican Party over the years, and not just during Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. As a result, The Loudest Voice offers a dramatic, but partial, telling of Roger Ailes’ life that is narrow in scope, and which relies on exploiting the well-known, appalling details of some of his most tabloid-worthy transgressions in order to make it entertaining.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the reasons The Loudest Voice gives for Roger Ailes’ success in the media industry. How has cable news changed as a result of his work at Fox? 

  • Why is Roger Ailes is credited with helping Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election? What specific contributions did he make? 

  • Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, and Harvey Weinstein have made contributions to the media industry, but are also infamous for committing inappropriate and/or criminal sexual acts. Is it still possible to honor their contributions to the field, despite this behavior?

TV details

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