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 oversee both their network and its sibling studio, though neither studio is on the scale of 20th TV, an established major supplier to all networks. Walden and Newman have run 20th TV for 15 years, first as presidents, then as chairmen, and recently also adding CEO to their titles.