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TMZ sold to Fox as AT&T sells its assets – The Hollywood Reporter

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AT & T’s WarnerMedia has sold the celebrity news and gossip brand TMZ to Fox Corp.

The deal will see the famous Harvey Levin-founded tabloid operate under the umbrella of the Fox broadcast network. In addition to its websites, TMZ has also had a syndicated TV series, TMZ on TV, since 2007, and a derivative series TMZ Sports on FS1. Stations owned and operated by Fox were the launch partner of the syndicated show and continue to air the program, which had previously been renewed throughout the 2022-2023 season.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a person familiar with the sale valued the deal at Hollywood journalist under $ 50 million.

Levin will continue to manage the day-to-day operations of TMZ and will report to Rob Wade, President of Alternative and Special Entertainment at Fox Entertainment. Levin signed a multi-year agreement with Fox as part of the sale, according to a person familiar with the terms.

In addition to digital brands (including all websites operated by TMZ, like TooFab.com) and TV shows, Fox will also operate the company’s tour bus business in Los Angeles. Fox’s internal syndication arm, Fox First Run, will oversee sales of TMZ, and the company has announced plans to “further market and monetize the TMZ brand in its group of stations; ad-supported streamer, Tubi; and other platforms owned by Fox.

Fox has been a bit crazy the past few months. In May, he bought sports site Outkick from founder Clay Travis, and last month he announced an investment in blockchain company Eluvio, which will power the company’s Blockchain Creative Labs, which he is backing with an investment of $ 100 million.

Levin founded TMZ in 2005 and continues to be its editor, delivering Hollywood scoops and rumors. The company has gained notoriety for its flawless scoops, including being the first to report the deaths of Michael Jackson and Prince, and the anti-Semitic rant of Mel Gibson. As he moved towards television and video, he became known for his ambush interview style, with a film crew (or sometimes an individual with an iPhone, surprising celebrities in the street and asking questions.

Under Fox ownership, TMZ, which has created a new form of tabloid journalism in the digital age, will be owned by Rupert Murdoch, who redefined the genre by owning newspapers like the New York Post, the United Kingdom The sun, and Australia The telegraph of the day.

And just like the To post’s Page Six became a place where the elite of Hollywood and New York City leaked negative stories about perceived enemies and touted their success, TMZ forged its own relationship with the industry. Donald Trump, years before he was elected president, was a regular at both.

Fox tried to use the Page Six branding to launch some sort of flanking show at TMZ in 2018 with TV from page 6, but this effort was canceled after 2 seasons.

It also puts TMZ under the same corporate umbrella as Fox News, which shouldn’t increase TMZ’s popularity among Hollywood talent and executives. TMZ and Fox News both embarked on crusades against the cable news and gossip status quo, backed by major mainstream media companies, but adopting a view that was absent from existing offerings.

“The unique and powerful brand Harvey created in TMZ forever changed the entertainment industry and we are delighted to welcome them to Fox,” said Lachlan Murdoch, Executive Chairman and CEO of Fox Corp. “TMZ has been a hard-hitting program for our Fox TV channels and broadcast partners for many years and I know that Jack Abernethy and Charlie Collier will find creative ways to use and extend this content in an effective and compelling way. for our audience.

“Harvey Levin has created a revolutionary destination for entertainment news, and over the past 15 years TMZ has celebrated great success,” said Channing Dungey, President of Warner Bros. Television Group, in a statement. “TMZ will now be more closely aligned with the distributor of the popular content they create, and WarnerMedia wishes Harvey and all team members the best as they venture into a new partnership with the talented team at Fox. “

Meanwhile, WarnerMedia’s parent company AT&T got rid of “non-core” assets to help pay off debt related to 5G wireless spectrum.

In addition to WarnerMedia, which it intends to divest under an agreement with Discovery Inc., the telecommunications giant divested its DirecTV and UVerse businesses, sold its Crunchyroll anime streaming business and its stake in the Game Show network to Sony, and divested a few of its divisions in Europe and Latin America.

The name TMZ stands for “Thirty-Mile Zone,” a 30-mile area in Los Angeles used by the entertainment industry to determine the pay, rules and working conditions of production staff.

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