Fox execs update future of 'New Fox'; address future of The Simpsons, post-Disney genre slate

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Aug 2, 2018

Fox’s co-chairmen & CEOs of the Fox Television Group, Dana Walden and Gary Newman, opened their TCA day in Beverly Hills with a state-of-the-network update. In light of the recently approved transaction with The Walt Disney company, Walden stated they couldn’t discuss many specifics as they were in active transition, but she confirmed that some items have yet to be resolved, including the management structure and even the ultimate fates of Walden and Newman, who have been in their positions for four years.

Walden did offer that they have informally dubbed the future iteration as "New Fox" and it will move to the Walt Disney Studio with other assists. She added, “It will operate completely independent of studios and allow more indie companies to get into the production cycle. They will reduce development to just 50% with Fox Studios, and the rest will come from outside studios.”

And to clarify, Walden added, “Fox will have a co-ownership stake in the shows that we order as it’s commonplace in the business. That will be the condition across the board. Decisions to keep shows has to do with keeping circulation on your network and shows that help define a brand. But in terms of new shows, Fox will not produce but they will have co-ownership.”

She also reiterated that their diversity initiatives will remain and expand with two inclusion labs focused on cinematography starting this fall. Stats-wise, she provided that Fox's increased diversity goals meant “at the corporate level, 46% of its employees are female and 49% of series stars are female, with 45% diversity.”

As for the uncertainty in the current climate of media company mergers, Walden said it hasn’t changed their day-to-day operations. “It hasn’t been difficult when you are inside the company to function and develop fall launches."

"There’s been no shortage of projects coming through the door. It will be part of this more focused media company run by the Murdochs with a mix of sports, live events, and entertainment. The mix will remain as its been in the last decade. There was confusion at the initial announcement when Rupert said it would be 85% live. He was referencing the whole media company. The broadcast network will have the same mix as before. We will have Thurs Night Football, but that’s just 11 weeks. And in 2019, there will be WWE but the rest is entertainment shows and I don’t anticipate the mix to change.”

The Simpsons, which hits its 30-year anniversary, was pinpointed by Walden and Newman as a Fox brand that will remain in the fold even though its gotten to be an expensive series to produce.

The Simpsons is so much a part of the brand, so there are no plans for them to go anywhere other than Fox," Walden asserted. “We have a couple years of episodes in production of The Simpsons, and there’s no consideration of not ordering more episodes of The Simpsons.” Newman added, “The Simpsons is so associated with Fox that it benefits the network and the owner of the IP. I feel confident Disney and Fox will find a way to have an interest in the show, and for it to stay on Fox.”

Lastly, the pair cited The Orville and The Gifted as two major hits for them as they prepare for their second seasons. The final season of Gotham is confirmed for a midseason start. And in terms of why they let go of Lucifer (which will move to Netflix for its fourth season), Walden said, “Lucifer worked well for us when we had it but the audience was getting very narrow. Because it’s owned by an outside studio, we couldn’t justify the economics.”

Click here for SYFY WIRE’s full coverage of the TCA 2018 summer press tour.

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