HBO’s Succession draws clear inspiration from real-world problems. From the first episode, fans met the despicable Roy family, their businesses, and the skeletons that come dancing out of every closet. At no point is this clearer than on ATN, the fictional news network they weaponize throughout the series. However, anyone who watches the show knows that ATN stands in for something genuine.
Is ATN a real TV network?
Vanity Fair notes that while Succession isn’t necessarily a political show, the connections between its fictional portrayal of the rich and famous narcissists are based on real-world problems. However, while the show dives into politics several times over, it’s less about the partisan nature of social satire and more concerned with the greed behind the political news cycle.
ATN is a fictional news network that exists, in many ways, to prop up Logan Roy and make sure that his interests, both personal and political, are represented by his umbrella. However, anyone watching the series and paying attention to the network chyrons will note the similarities between it and a popular news network from the real world.
What does Logan Roy’s ATN stand for in ‘Succession’?
As Vox notes, it doesn’t take a Ph.D. in political science to see what ATN stands for. From its right-wing messages about gun violence, taxes, and other hot button issues to Shiv’s career within the political machine, we get a glimpse of a family who might not be on the same page politically but is when it comes to preserving the family brand.
Anyone with knowledge of Fox News can see the immediate connections between the ATN network and other right-leaning media companies like OAN. However, the series never says what the acronym stands for. While it could be a shorthand play on attention, the motives behind it are crystal clear.
How the Roy family compares to the Murdoch family
Emily VanDerWerff of Vox spoke about the coy way that Succession’s creative team guides the Murdoch family comparisons. Yes, the series makes no qualms about the Fox News and Murdoch connections, but they paint with broader strokes in many ways. VanDerWerff wrote about the second episode of season two, ‘Vaulter’:
“Every so often, one of the people behind Succession is asked about the Roy family’s similarities to the Murdoch family, and they’re always so careful to say that, sure, there are things in common there with the Murdochs, but there are things in common with a lot of rich families, because this is just how rich families are.”
Despite this, Harper’s Bazaar notes how obvious the connections are. Logan Roy may not be the Australian magnate Rupert Murdoch is, but the way he operates his family, often putting business over blood, runs concurrently with the stories of Murdoch’s family struggles behind the scenes. With siblings working on the left and right, Succession is less about the Murdochs and more about the money that they represent.
Like the on-screen Roys, The Ringer notes the similarities between their fictional power struggles and the public Murdoch Family battles throughout the years. While Rupert never shied away from creating the political landscape he’s associated with, his children worry that they will face the brunt of the fallout. Like Logan, Shiv, and the rest of the family, a divide exists between what Rupert wants and what his offspring fears.
From Trumps to Murdochs, Bezos, and Musks, Succession is, in many ways, a satire of the people in power due to old money, corruption, and a willingness to put a knife in anybody’s back. That’s why it’s so popular. A third season is currently in the works. After a hiatus that saw global pandemics, social movements, and political insurrections, the inspiration behind it may grow bigger by the day.