Updated: Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021 at 9:53 am PT
Fox Entertainment has acquired TMZ and all its associated media properties from WarnerMedia, according to Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier on Monday. Terms were not disclosed but the deal was worth less than $50 million, according to several reports.
TMZ founder and managing editor Harvey Levin will remain with the franchise and continue to oversee operations while also frequently appearing on TMZ, TMZ Live and other outlets.
Under terms of the new agreement, Fox will own and operate all TMZ-branded linear, digital and experiential assets, including syndicated magazine programs, TMZ and TMZ Live, both of which air on 18 network affiliates owned by Fox Television Stations; the dedicated sports website TMZ Sports and program TMZ Sports, which airs on FS1; and celebrity tour operations in Los Angeles and New York.
In a significant expansion of Fox’s digital footprint, the acquisition also includes TMZ’s celebrity and culture outlet, TooFab.com, and its flagship outlet, TMZ.com. TMZ provides Fox the opportunity to further market and monetize the TMZ brand across its station group, ad-supported streamer Tubi and other Fox-owned platforms.
Fox Television Stations’ in-house syndication division, Fox First Run, will oversee all program sales, marketing and affiliate relations for TMZ and TMZ Live, effective immediately. The two programs have been renewed through 2022-23, with TMZ cleared in 99% of the country this coming season and TMZ Live cleared in 72% of the U.S.
Levin, who founded TMZ in 2005 with the late Jim Paratore, will report to Rob Wade, Fox Entertainment’s president of alternative entertainment and specials.
“The unique and powerful brand Harvey has created in TMZ has forever changed the entertainment industry and we’re excited to welcome them to Fox,” said Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corporation, in a statement. “TMZ has been an impactful program for our Fox television stations and broadcast partners for many years and I know Jack Abernethy and Charlie Collier will find creative ways to utilize and expand this content in effective and compelling ways for our audiences.”
“When I see a breaking celebrity-related story that is equal parts shocking, fun and addictive, I know it’s TMZ,” said Collier, also in a statement. “Whether via broadcast or digital, TMZ has brought its brand-defining energy and sense of urgency to fans across the planet. We see great potential in building upon this franchise by adding new creative ventures with Harvey and everyone at TMZ. Here’s to Harvey, Charles and the team leaning over Fox cubicles for years to come.”
“Harvey Levin created a groundbreaking destination for entertainment news, and for the past 15-plus years, TMZ has celebrated great success,” Channing Dungey, chairman, Warner Bros. Television Group, also said in a statement. “TMZ will now be more closely aligned with the distributor of the popular content they create, and WarnerMedia wishes Harvey and everyone on the team the best as they venture into a new partnership with the talented team at Fox.”
TMZ already has produced several specials for Fox Entertainment, including Harry & Meghan: The Royals in Crisis, Tiger King: What Really Went Down and UFOs: The Pentagon Proof. All three specials are currently available to stream on Tubi.
Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.
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