May 22, 2018

As Disney Sale Looms, Fox TV Chiefs Are Said to Discuss Extending Contracts

However, barring those hiccups, the Disney deal could be completed within a year.

Ms. Walden, who is known to have a deft hand with talent and is the godmother of the star showrunner Ryan Murphy’s children, is one of the most powerful female executives in the television industry. She has run the broadcast network with Mr. Newman since 2014, and they have run Fox’s TV studio together for almost two decades.

But in the time since they’ve run the broadcast network, Fox has not been able to climb out of a years-long slump that started when ratings for “American Idol” began to crater. The studio’s biggest recent hit, “This Is Us,” airs on NBC.

If 21st Century Fox is sold, the studio that Ms. Walden and Mr. Newman have curated for so long will be in unfamiliar hands. Fox, known for its edgier programming, and ABC have considerably different brands, and a transition to Disney could be tricky for Ms. Walden and Mr. Newman. Meanwhile, the Fox broadcast network will be in the awkward spot of having to navigate a future without an aligned studio providing new shows. The network will have to look elsewhere for content, meaning its programming will likely be heavy on sports, live events and reality television. The so-called New Fox would consist of the broadcast network, the Fox Sports channels, some local TV channels and Fox News. Some analysts have taken to calling this potential version of Fox “the stub.”

Earlier this year, Ms. Walden briefly spoke to Amazon for its chief entertainment job before pulling out. The position ultimately went to Jennifer Salke, a former colleague of Ms. Walden’s.

On Monday, Ms. Walden and Mr. Newman presided over Fox’s annual upfront presentation for advertisers. The event was muted, by the usual glitz-and-glam standards of the upfronts, featuring lots of talk about future sports rights for Fox.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/15/business/media/fox-disney-dana-walden-gary-newman.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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