July 08--Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has realigned a big chunk of its television empire, bringing its syndication and distribution business under the control of two respected Fox executives, Dana Walden and Gary Newman.
Walden and Newman have jointly run the company's profitable television production studio, Twentieth Century Fox Television, for more than a decade. The studio is home to such network hits as "Modern Family," "Family Guy," "The Simpsons," "Glee" and "Homeland."
As part of the realignment, the arm that sells television shows, known as Twentieth Television, moves over to become a division of the Los Angeles-based production studio. Previously, the group was part of the TV station group, but broadcast stations now represent only one important stream of revenue rather than the bulk of the business. Studios increasingly are trying to tap opportunities in foreign markets and through digital distribution services, including Netflix and Amazon.com.
The changes at Fox follow a move by rival studio Warner Bros. Television two months ago to reconfigure its ranks and elevate its long-time chief of international distribution, giving him responsibility for domestic distribution.
Twentieth Television will continue to be managed by veteran executive Greg Meidel, who has served as president of the group. Meidel now will report to Newman and Walden, who both hold the title of chairman of Twentieth Century Fox Television.
Meidel and his team will continue to negotiate all domestic broadcast and cable television syndication and distribution deals for Twentieth Century Fox Television's shows. In addition, the group will manage sales of movies from Twentieth Century Fox Film's library, as well as shows produced by FX Productions and the Fox Television Stations.
Fox Television Stations still will develop and produce first-run programming. The unit will be managed by Stephen Brown, executive vice president of programming and development. Brown will report to Jack Abernethy, the chief executive officer of Fox Television Stations.
"This reorganization underscores the changing landscape of the syndication TV business, more closely aligning the distribution of our shows with our content creators," said Chase Carey, chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox, which was part of News Corp. until its corporate split more than a week ago.
"I am confident that Greg will continue to be a driving force in capturing revenue opportunities for the programming we produce, including Twentieth Century Fox Television powerhouse brands like 'Glee' and 'Modern Family,' " Carey said in the company's statement.
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