Fox Is 'Business As Usual' In Near Term

Don't worry where the Fox network is going in the wake of the news/sports programming focus the company will pursue in the wake of its asset sale to Walt Disney.

Some drama, comedy and reality shows are coming. 

“The network will continue to do entertainment programming,” says Dana Walden, co-chair of Fox Television Group, speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California.

Admit it. It’s kind of strange to hear those words from a senior TV broadcast network executive. As if to say there was an option to eliminate entertainment programming.

Well, there’s this: More than 65% of all Fox’s gross rating points come from sports programming -- including all NFL and Major League Baseball content.

However, this won’t be the case for its sister TV business -- the cable group of FX Networks -- which is moving to Disney as part of the big $52.4 billion deal with Fox. Entertainment programming will continue on those networks -- just in the hands of Disney executives.



In the near term, Fox Television Group chairman Gary Newman and Dana Walden said that for the next 18 months, things will be “business as usual.”

Well, sort of. Nothing will be “usual” at Fox. No longer will the Fox Broadcasting Network have access to in-house TV productions. That division also heads to Disney.

The upside? Increasingly, there are many more premium TV program producers Fox can buy from. This may have some decent financial considerations. For a long time, we have heard from John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks, about the glut of big scripted TV shows -- more than 400. That number is estimated to hit 500.

The silver cloud: This might represent an opportunity for the network; an oversupply of programming could be leverage to drive down license fees.

The downside is that Fox now has no control of ongoing TV production costs overall -- especially when prime-time TV shows, which can cost $3 million to $4 million an episode, continue to grow.

In the meantime, enjoy “Empire,” “The Simpsons,” “The X-Files,” “Lethal Weapon” and others on Fox -- for as long as you can.

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