Fox Corporation aims to accelerate its digital news, sports and lifestyle offerings as the company completes the acquisition of TMZ from WarnerMedia, valued at approximately 50 million.
Fox Daily has acquired all the companies behind the syndicated TV shows “TMZ” and “TMZ Live”, which have aired on Fox’s O&O station since its debut in 2000ox and 2011, respectively. The banner of TMZ Productions was established in 2005 by Harvey Levine, former KCBS-TV Los Angeles correspondent and the late telecom executive Jim Parato as a division of Warner Bros. Teleproduction Production Unit.
Levin will continue to manage the company and act as the frontman for the TV show. In the new configuration, he will report daily affairs to Fox Entertainment’s alternate and special president Rob Wade, and the TMZ entity itself will be added to Fox Entertainment’s head Charlie Collier’s portfolio. Fox’s syndication force, Fox First Run, will be responsible for the sale and distribution of syndicated programs from Warner Bros. ‘Domotic Television Distribution.
The deal includes all of TMZ’s existing assets, including the TMZ Sports digital site and its TOFAB Celebrity, Culture and Lifestyle unit, which also includes TMZ.com, which generates a lot of traffic, featuring video clips of celebrities misbehaving.
Fox Television station president Jack Abernethi will also be involved in TMZ steering to become a content engine for the company’s network, digital platforms and TV stations.
Lachlan Murdoch, Chairman-CEO of Fox Corporation, said: “The unique and powerful brand that Harvey has created at TMZ has changed the entertainment industry forever and we are thrilled to welcome them to Fox.”TMZ has been an influential program for our Fox television station and broadcast partners for many years and I know Jack Abernethi and Charlie Collier will find creative ways to use and expand this content in an effective and compelling way for our listeners.
The TMZ sale comes when WarnerMedia’s parent AT&T was in a campaign to sell non-core assets to reduce its debt burden of more than 150 150 billion. TMZ has always been uncomfortable in the early time Warner Empire because much of its business is for high-gloss projects, exposing Hollywood stars hired by Warner Bros. and HBO.
Nevertheless, Warner Bros. Television Group Chairman Channing Dungi said goodbye to Levin and his team as the split was finalized.
“Harvey Levine has created a groundbreaking destination for entertainment news and TMZ has celebrated great success over the last 15 years,” Dungi said. “TMZ will now be more closely linked to the distributors of the popular content they create, and Warnermedia wishes Harvey and everyone on the team a new partnership with Fox’s talented team.”
Given the close relationship between TMZ and Fox, insiders expressed optimism that the transition would be quite smooth.
“We can’t charge any more,” Levine said. “Fox Entertainment is opening up a world of opportunities for TMZ to expand and expand our existing platforms in any way.”