The spectacular decline of News Corporation over the past year has focused attention on two Murdochs above all others: Rupert, the belligerent 81 year-old media chief who has spent 60 years building the business, and his son James, News Corp's deputy chief operating officer, who was at one point expected to succeed his father.
But today another Murdoch will step into the spotlight. Elisabeth, who turned 44 yesterday, will deliver the annual James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture, the most prestigious speech on the UK television industry calendar.
She will be the first woman to do so in 17 years, although she will be the third Murdoch on the Edinburgh podium. Rupert gave the address in 1989, while James used the platform 20 years later to launch a searing attack on the BBC and the "chilling" scale of its ambitions. The lecture almost always sets the media agenda for the year to come. In Elisabeth Murdoch's case, however, she will not be able to escape the year that has just been.
A timely reminder of the pressures facing the family business was delivered by the deputy leader of the Labour party Harriet Harman last night, calling for legislation aimed at breaking up the Murdoch empire. "The age of deference to the Murdochs is over," she said.
But, whereas James divides opinion among his industry colleagues, Elisabeth is held in near-unanimous high regard. She earned their respect by leaving BSkyB in 2001 to set up her own production company, Shine Television.
The business made a success of old shows such as MasterChef. Helped by the deep pockets of Elisabeth's family, it added ballast with a series of shrewd acquisitions. Kudos Film and Television, which made BBC dramas such as Ashes to Ashes and The Hour.
Senior executives recall Elisabeth Murdoch, a softly-spoken Anglophile, pursuing them doggedly, almost like a courtship. In building Shine, Elisabeth demonstrated to the UK television industry, but more importantly to her father, that she could be a media mogul in her own right.
However, all that changed in early 2011, when Elisabeth traded it all in for a large cheque from her father. She had been looking at floating the company but instead ended up selling it to News Corp for 415 million pounds - an eye-watering price, the company's success notwithstanding.
News Corp shareholders began suing the company for allowing "rampant nepotism" and accused Rupert Murdoch of treating the company "like a wholly-owned family candy store". The case is still running. Elisabeth made $US214m from the deal but her credibility took a blow. She was supposed to join News Corp's board but opted to delay her accession.
Since then, she has kept a low profile. She is firmly embedded in the Chipping Norton set in Oxfordshire, where she lives at the weekends with her husband, the PR chief Matthew Freud, with whom she has four children and two stepchildren, but she almost never speaks publicly. However, her comments are sometimes leaked. Last summer, while the phone-hacking crisis at the News of the World was at its zenith, she reportedly claimed her brother James had "f----- the company".
It was rather surprising, then, that she agreed to deliver the MacTaggart. Sources close to Elisabeth claim that when she signed up for the job around Christmas, she intended to deliver a lecture on "creative leadership". She was also expected to call for the BBC to close large parts of its gargantuan in-house production unit, and source more of its content from the UK's fiercely competitive pool of independent producers. While that sort of shake-up would be radical for the BBC, it has been altogether eclipsed by the much bigger issue of News Corp, and the still-unfolding scandals that are weighing on its future.
"I have no idea why she thought this would be a good idea," said a close colleague. "She had no idea at Christmas how the News Corp scandal would develop. It seems uncharacteristically naive."
If Elisabeth is anything like her father, and it appears she is, her decision will be part of a much bigger game of chess. She is deliberately setting out to make her move, impressing upon the News Corp board that she is a heavyweight member of the Murdoch clan who should have a major bearing on the company's future, while establishing herself to the wider world as a different type of Murdoch to those seen before.
Like any potential grand master, she is playing the long, steady game in her ascent of the News Corp empire.
The Telegraph, London