21st Century Fox has tapped 20th Century Fox Television co-chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden to take over as the heads of the Fox network, replacing former Chairman of Entertainment Kevin Reilly who stepped down last month.
The company said that Newman and Walden, who have been atop 20th Century Fox Television for more than 15 years, would take the top leadership positions (as Chairmen and CEOs) of a newly formed business unit within Fox Network Group which will be known as Fox Television Group. That business unit will combine the Fox network and 20th Century Fox Television, marking the first time that the network and the studio have been under one (or in this case two) executive since Sandy Grushow, who left the company in 2004. Fox’s sports and non-fiction channels in the US, as well as Fox International Channels, will also fall under the remit of the new business unit.
Gary Newman and Dana Walden will take up their posts as heads of Fox Television Group next month and will now report to Peter Rice, Chairman of Fox Networks Group (prior to now the duo had reported to Chase Carey, President and COO of 21st Century Fox). In their new roles they will be responsible for all facets of the Fox broadcast network, including programming, digital, marketing and other functions. They will also continue to lead 20th Century Fox Television – a move which could have dramatic effects on the programming strategy of the network. Per 21st Century Fox, the two elements of Fox Television group will “continue to operate as independent entities, but will share financial and creative goals”.
“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 Chase Carey, President and COO of 21st Century Fox. “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. We are incredibly fortunate to have two such accomplished leaders already under our roof to take on these important new roles.”
Peter Rice, Chairman of Fox Networks Group, commented: “Over the past 15 years, Dana and Gary have raised the bar for the rest of the industry with respect to creative vision, close-knit relationships with top talent and an unmatched track record of hit programming. At a time when the demand for content has never been higher, there is no doubt that we strengthen and galvanize our television business – both from a creative and programming standpoint – with Gary and Dana taking on these vital new leadership roles.”
While Gary Newman and Dana Walden added: We are grateful to Peter, Chase and James for this extraordinary vote of confidence. The time is right to unite these divisions. Television has never been more creatively vibrant and the business has never been more dynamic. Our goal is to make FBC the number one destination for creators with big visions and bold ideas, because our guiding principle has always been ‘talent first.’ We are humbled by the challenges and exhilarated by the opportunities ahead. It’s an exciting time.”