One aspect of Fox’s executive restructuring that saw 20th Century Fox TV chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman add oversight of the broadcast network has been largely overlooked – the move also means a promotion for Fox Networks Group chairman and CEO Peter Rice, whose star at 21st Century Fox has been rising. He had been overseeing Fox and the company’s cable networks, but 20th TV had been under the purview of 21st Century president and COO Chase Carey. With the two units coming together, reporting also is being streamlined, with Walden and Newman reporting to Rice, who will take oversight of 20th Century Fox TV for the first time. Rice has production experience on the film side as former head of Fox Searchlight but this is his first venture into TV producing.
Rice said he was “excited” about the new challenge but downplayed his bump. “It really is a promotion for Gary and Dana,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with them, they’re a fantastic executives who have run the studio for 15 years. I have lots to learn from them about the TV studio.” Rice did not have any notes on how the studio has been run and does not plan to make changes now that he is in charge. “I think the studio will operate very much in a business-as-usual manner, both selling to other … Read More »
In a conference call with reporters following the announcement of Fox Television Group, a unit combining Fox and 20th Century Fox TV that will be run by the studio’s Dana Walden and Gary Newman, the duo stressed that each company will continue to operate independently going forward, with each having its own P&L and management team. However, there will be synergies. “They will have shared creative and financial goals: to create more hits and, with the benefit of more collaboration and a more streamlined approach to development, create more hits together,” Newman said. “We’re a mature industry-leading studio that will continue to produce for multiple networks with a greater focus now on providing FBC with the best possible shows.”
Upon starting their new expanded duties on July 28, Walden and Newman plan “to be involved both companies,” Newman said. There are no plans for bring in a president of entertainment at Fox or make executive changes for the time being. The network’s top programming executive is COO Joe Earley, who was given development oversight a few months ago. “He has been doing a fantastic job, and there is a terrific executive team at Fox,” Walden said. “There are no immediate plans to bring anyone new.” Still, the two will take some time “to immerse ourselves in the culture at Fox and make recommendations,” Walden said, vowing a hands-on involvement, including hearing pitches. Over at the studio, Walden noted the recent promotions of Jonathan Davis to President of Creative Affairs and Howard Kurtzman to President, Business Operation, indicating that the two would be asked to step up to cover more ground as their bosses expand responsibilities. Read More »
As they have added oversight of Fox in addition to running 20th Century Fox TV, Dana Walden and Gary Newman wasted no time in making it clear that there will be no direct pipeline from the studio to the sister network, which will remain an independent buyer evaluating projects on their merits, not the source. “Be assured the network will remain committed to developing the boldest ideas, no matter the sources,” they wrote in an internal memo announcing the appointment this morning. “We want the best shows on FBC, period. A thriving FBC will mean a more fertile ground to nurture the passion projects of all creators.” Similarly, the duo stressed that 20th TV-based creators will not be forced to sell to Fox but their projects will continue to be placed where they have the best chance to succeed. Read the full memo here: Read More »
21st Century Fox just announced a long-rumored restructuring, which will see 20th Century Fox TV chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman overseeing a new business unit within Fox Networks Group, Fox Television Group, which will combine Fox Broadcasting Co. and 20th TV. The two will assume their new expanded duties later this month, reporting to Peter Rice, Chairman of Fox Networks Group. The appointment fills a void at the top of the network left by the departure of chairman Kevin Reilly in May. (Walden and Newman had previously reported to Chase Carey, president and chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox, as 20th TV was not part of the Fox Networks Group, while Reilly had reported to Rice.) The move reverts to a structure from a decade ago when Fox and 20th TV too were part of the same unit, Fox Television Entertainment Group, run by Sandy Grushow.
In their new roles as chairmen and CEOs of Fox Television Group, Newman and Walden will be responsible for most facets of running Fox including programming, digital and marketing, with only ad sales and affiliate relations not under their purview. They also will continue oversight of 20th TV, which they have led for the past 15 years. “As we look to the future of the broadcast television business, it is clear that the best path forward is to operate our creative and broadcast divisions under the leadership of a single team, and that Gary and Dana are the perfect executives to take on this new role,” said Carey. “While TCFTV and FBC will each continue as an open supplier and an open network, respectively, the closer alignment of these two properties, coupled with a unified vision from Dana and Gary, gives us a clear advantage in creating even more hit content that will benefit both businesses.”
As news of Walden and Newman’s expanded responsibilities started to trickle down over the past few days, the reaction from industry types has been positive as many praised the duo’s work at 20th TV. Whether it has a good selling season or a not-so-good one, it is a very well-run studio, observers say. However, there was some trepidation among rival networks that they may no longer have access to 20th TV’s best projects, which could be steered to Fox, a network in dire need of a ratings turnaround. Walden and Newman moved in swiftly to assuage possible concerns with an internal memo this morning, in which they vowed no preferential treatment for 20th TV-produced shows at Fox and stressed that 20th TV will continue to sell to everyone. Read More »
After weeks of speculation, it appears that 21st Century Fox is closing in on a deal for 20th Century Fox TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman to take oversight of sibling TV operation Fox, filling a void at the top of the network left by the departure of chairman Kevin Reilly in May.
This has been one of the worst kept secrets in the TV business, with Walden emerging as an early frontrunner for the Fox job, and the focus gradually shifting to extending her successful partnership with Newman at the studio to running the network. There had not been that many other names tossed around, with speculation intensifying on Friday that there could be an announcement on Monday but no one would comment. I hear an announcement will likely come tomorrow morning. The network’s TCA presentation is scheduled for next Sunday.
There were several kinks to work out, including who reports to whom. As studio heads, Walden and Newman report to Chase Carey, president and chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox, while Reilly reported to Fox Networks Group president Peter Rice. I hear in the new structure, Walden and Newman will likely report to Rice. It has been a decade since Sandy Grushow, the last Fox executive overseeing both the network and the studio. NBC’s Bob Greenblatt and ABC’s Paul Lee also … Read More »
This morning’s confirmation that Kevin Reilly was stepping down as Chairman of Entertainment at Fox Broadcast Co. ends weeks of speculation he would exit in the wake of the March promotion of Rupert Murdoch’s son, James to co-COO at 21st Century Fox, giving him oversight of, among other properties, the Fox broadcast network. When the dust settled back then, Fox Networks Group chief Peter Rice, to whom Reilly reported, would now report to James Murdoch instead of president/COO Chase Carey.
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“He had to make a move,” one industry exec speculated, of Rice in the wake of the March shuffle.
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EXCLUSIVE: Execs at the home of Sleepy Hollow, Glee and The Mindy Project had a message today for showrunners and agents: Diversity is the new ka-ching. “Not only are you going to have more chances of a show being made here, more chances of a show being a success on TV, more chances of making it into syndication, more chances of a show selling globally and making you millions of dollars, but you are going to bring more viewers to our air and keep us in business,” Fox Broadcasting COO Joe Earley told a group of the company’s brass, as well as agents, producers, and media coalitions. Usual good intentions aside, that good-for-business mantra was the primary thrust of the third annual invite-only confab, called “Seizing Opportunities” this year.
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And the Zanuck Theater on the Fox lot certainly had a lot of people who do business with each other on hand Thursday. Earley co-hosted the event with Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly; Fox TV’s Dana Walden and Gary Newman; Fox Animation’s Vanessa Morrison; FX’s John Landgraf, Eric Schrier and Nick Grad; Fox TV Distributions’ Mark Kaner; and Fox Searchlight’s Nancy Utley. Unlike past Fox diversity conferences, the agencies were represented for the first time too, with WME’s Rick Rosen, UTA’s Jay Sures and CAA’s Joe Cohen as co-hosts as … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Writer-producer Eli Attie has closed a two-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV. Under the pact, Attie is joining the studio’s new ABC drama Mind Games, from creator Kyle Killen, as co-executive producer. He also will develop. Attie, who segued to a screenwriting career after serving as Al Gore’s Chief Speechwriter, most recently served as co-executive producer on Fox’s long-running drama series House. Before that, he worked on two Aaron Sorkin series, first on the Emmy-winning The West Wing for five years, where he likely used some of his Washington experience, and then on Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. Additionally, Attie’s screenplay Smile Relax Attack was named to the 2009 Black List. “Eli has a phenomenal reputation — virtually every writer who’d worked on a staff with Eli raved about him, so we knew he’d be a valuable addition to our studio’s roster,” 20th TV chairman Dana Walden said. “And when it came to finding someone to work with a writer as adept as Kyle Killen on Mind Games, Eli immediately came to mind, and they really hit it off. We look forward to working with him on this important series as well as developing with him down the road.” Attie is with WME and Jackoway Tyerman.
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After hanging out with the casts of Modern Family, Glee and Sons Of Anarchy in their holiday cards the last three years (click on the titles to watch them again), 20th Century Fox TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman are getting animated this year for a visit with the Griffins from the studio’s toon hit Family Guy, which just celebrated its 200th episode. The man of the hour, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, who scored a sleeper movie hit with Ted and is hosting the Oscars, directed Walden and Gary and provided voices for the video, written by the Family Guy writing staff. The entertaining skit is full of inside jokes — about the demise of MacFarlane’s Flintstones reboot, the Modern Family cast renegotiations, the uncertain future of Family Guy spinoff The Cleveland Show, which has not been renewed beyond this season, and Family Guy‘s own history of cancellations. It even plugs Newman’s family winery. Enjoy!
Ruben Fleischer has closed a pod deal with 20th Century Fox TV. The two-year pact will see the director-producer develop, direct and executive produce new comedy and drama projects for network and cable TV. As a part of the deal, the Gangster Squad helmer will launch a new production company to be based at Fox. “We were so taken with Zombieland, it has such an original tone. The mix of scary and funny—he’s just incredibly creative. He has the greatest skill set, and we know he has what it takes to create a hit television show,” 20th Century Fox TV chair Dana Walden told Deadline today. Fleischer, who made his feature directorial debut with 2009’s Zombieland and followed up with 2011′s 30 Minutes Or Less, is producing the indie Two Night Stand, which Mike Nichols’ son Max is attached to direct. Fleischer started out directing music video and commercials. He moved on to directing segments for ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! as well as episodes of Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis and Funny Or Die videos plus creating and executive producing MTV’s Rob And Big and Fantasy Factory. The LA period drama Gangster Squad, starring Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin, comes out September 7. Fleischer is repped by UTA and attorney Warren Dern.
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Once again, 20th Century Fox TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman turned to one of the studio’s biggest hits for inspiration in creating their annual holiday video card. This time, the duo are channeling their inner bikers in a Sons Of Anarchy-themed video written by series’ creator Kurt Sutter and featuring the cast of the hit FX drama, co-produced with FX Prods. Like the Modern Family spoof 2 years ago, written by series’ co-creator Steve Levitan, and the Glee video last year, written by co-creator Ian Brennan and directed by co-creator Ryan Murphy, the new card too revolves around actors and writers’ favorite topic around the holidays — getting more money.
After 20th TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman’s uproarious Modern Family-flavored holiday video card last year written and directed by Steve Levitan, it was natural for the duo to turn to the studio’s other monster hit, Fox’s Glee, for greeting card inspiration next. Here is this year’s video, written by Glee co-creator/executive producer Ian Brennan, who writes Sue Sylvester’s (Jane Lynch) dialogue on the show, and directed by Glee co-creator/executive producer Ryan Murphy.
20th Century Fox TV has big plans for Alex Borstein, who voices Lois on the studio’s hit animated comedy Family Guy. The actress-writer has signed a deal with the studio to develop, write and executive produce two comedy projects that she would potentially star in — one animated and one live-action. Additionally, 20th TV has signed a talent holding deal with Borstein so other writers would be developing for her too, and she could be cast in an existing project. Borstein has been in the Fox family for the past 13 years — as a writer-performer on the network’s late-night sketch comedy Mad TV where she created such memorable characters as Miss Swan, and as a key cast member on the 20th/Fox comedy Family Guy, on which she also served as a writer-producer. She also did a variety show with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, which aired on Fox as a special. Read More »
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LOS ANGELES – August 16, 2010 – David Madden has been named President of Fox Television Studios, it was announced today by Dana Walden and Gary Newman, Chairmen of Twentieth Century Fox Television, to whom Madden reports. Madden succeeds Emiliano Calemzuk who recently stepped down from his position.
Formerly EVP at FtvS, Madden has overseen Creative Development and Production at the studio, and has been responsible for an array of successful series, including the USA hits Burn Notice and White Collar, A&E’s The Glades, Saving Grace for TNT and the long-running, Emmy-winning The Shield for FX. He also oversees the new series The Good Guys for FOX, The Gates for ABC, Persons Unknown for NBC, Lights Outs for FX, as well as FX’s pilot (a co-production with FX Productions) Outlaw Country, and the recently announced The Killing for AMC.
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Back From the Dead: CBS’ ‘Chaos’ Is Alive!
Tom Spezialy’s CIA drama pilot Chaos completed its remarkable comeback with a midseason series order at CBS. The network and producing studio 20th Century Fox TV just closed a deal for a 13-episode order to the Brett Ratner-directed pilot. Chaos was presumed dead 3 weeks ago when CBS and 20th TV could not come to an agreement after 5 weeks of negotiations and the options on the actors were let to expire on June 30. But in the past 3 days, the network and the studio were able to patch things up on the dealmaking front (the lunch CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler had with 20th TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman on Monday certainly helped) and to get the cast back. Closing the deals for the actors was no small feat, especially as it was accomplished in 48 hours. Coming back for the series are the pilot’s star Freddy Rodriguez and co-stars Eric Close, James Murray, Tim Blake Nelson and Carmen Ejogo. Per decision the network and studio made right after the upfront, Stephen Rea, who was also in the pilot, will be recast.
Chaos joins another comeback kid at 20th TV, drama pilot Breakout Kings, which landed a pickup at A&E after being passed on by Fox. At CBS, Chaos joins the network’s other midseason drama series, Criminal Minds: Suspect … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Veteran TV producer Bert Salke has been tapped as president of Fox21, the cable/unscripted production arm of 20th Century Fox TV. He replaces Chris Carlisle who is exiting after a year-and-a-half stint. Salke, who is expected to start in mid-August, will report to 20th TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman.
For the past 13 years, Salke had been partnered with producer Chris Brancato in Brancato/Salke. The company was based at 20th TV from 2003-2005 before moving to ABC Studios (then Touchstone TV) where the two had been based until their most recent deal expired in mid-June. But Salke started off as an executive before segueing to producing, holding gigs at Twentieth Century Fox under Scott Rudin and at Lorimar and FBC under Peter Chernin. Because of that background, Salke had been approached for executive jobs before but said “the right one never came along” until he was asked to run Fox21.
Newman and Walden launched Fox21 in 2004 as a division for alternative and lower-cost scripted series. “I think it’s a different world today than when it was created,” Salke said. “They are now a prime supplier of prime cable programming but I think the company has not reached its potential, and there are branding questions. We’re going to aim high for event-type attention-grabbing programming.” The model would be parent studio 20th TV, which has shows like Glee and Modern Family, he said. Salke said happy with the 3 series on Fox21’s current slate, Sons of Anarchy, his favorite series on TV, and the … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: I hear the CBS pilot Chaos has sprung back to life in the past 24 hours. This is the latest twist to the story of the 20th Century Fox TV-produced CIA drama pilot, which was close to a midseason pickup by CBS but the deal ultimately fell apart on June 30 after five weeks of negotiations. I hear the groundwork was laid by CAA, which represents the project, and the resurrection process took a step forward yesterday when CBS’ entertainment president Nina Tassler had lunch with 20th TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman to discuss the matter. I hear the Brett Ratner-directed Chaos is now back on track for a midseason series order at CBS, possibly as a co-production between 20th TV and CBS TV Studios. The only major obstacle is bringing back the cast, led by Freddy Rodriguez, which was released on June 30 when the actors’ options expired. I hear the actors have been approached about returning and things look optimistic on that front. I also hear a decision on the future of the project could come as soon as today. It probably will be final this time, though with Chaos, you never know. As one industry insider commented, ”This process has been absurd beyond belief; the most aptly titled pilot of all times.”
CBS has been high on Chaos creator Tom Spezialy and his work on the pilot. The network recently inked a blind script deal with him for a new CBS Studios-based project.
EXCLUSIVE: Wilmer Valderrama has inked a talent holding/development deal with 20th Century Fox TV. Under the pact, That ‘70s Show alum Valderrama will star and executive produce a series project for the studio. The deal solidifies Valderrama’s ties with 20th TV. Two years ago, he starred in the 20th TV hourlong comedy pilot for Fox The Emancipation of Ernesto, written by Emily Kapnek. Last year, Valderrama reteamed with Kapnek and 20th TV for a comedy project inspired by the work of “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan, with Valderrama attached to play the central character based on Millan as well as produce. That project also was set at Fox. Working with Valderrama on the two comedies led to the new deal, said 20th TV chairman Dana Walden. “He’s impressed us tremendously as an actor and producer,” she said. “He’s got talent, great instincts about ideas and material, and terrific comedic chops.”
In addition to the pact at 20th TV, Valderrama also has an exclusive multi-year overall deal at RelativityREAL. He is exclusive to Relativity for developing projects as a producer and to 20th TV for starring in a show, which he would also develop and executive produce. The actor, who voices the title character on Disney Channel’s Handy Manny, recently wrapped Tom Hanks’ Larry Crowne and will next be seen in The Dry Land and From Prada To Nada. He is repped by UTA and attorney Michael Gendler.