Inside Disney’s Campaign to Keep Channing Dungey as ABC’s Head of Entertainment and Why It Failed

Channing Dungey decided to leave ABC Entertainment despite direct appeals from incoming leaders Dana Walden and Peter Rice and a close relationship with Disney CEO Bob Iger, multiple insiders told TheWrap.

Dungey, the president of ABC Entertainment, informed her Disney bosses last week that she did not intend to renew her contract when it came up in early 2019. That led them to announce Friday that Karey Burke, head of original programming for Disney’s Freeform, would replace her.

“She was not pushed. She chose not to renew her deal which expires in February,” one knowledgeable insider told TheWrap. “As soon as she informed them that she wasn’t renewing, they made an immediate change to Karey.”

Also Read: Channing Dungey Exits as ABC Chief, Freeform’s Karey Burke to Replace Her

Dungey’s decision to leave despite not having another position elsewhere is a personal disappointment to Iger, who was her mentor in Disney’s prestigious mentoring program earlier in her career, according to the insider. An individual with knowledge of Iger’s thinking confirmed that Iger personally mentored Dungey, saying, “Bob was and still is a big fan.”

Dungey declined to comment for this story.

Dungey, well-liked and highly regarded, was the first black executive to be named head of a major broadcast network.

Her time running ABC had a smattering of successes — “Roseanne,” “The Good Doctor” and a solid, but expensive “American Idol” reboot — but has recently been tarnished some having lost Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris to Netflix, who lured the creators with more freedom and fatter checks, and a PR debacle that saw the network cancel its top-rated series in years in “Roseanne,” after star Roseanne Barr came under fire for a racist tweet.

Also Read: Peter Rice, Dana Walden to Lead Disney-ABC’s TV Networks and Studio After Fox Deal Closes

Dungey is the most recent in a string of top black executives at the network to depart. Head of drama Nne Ebong left in August and Jamila Hunter, who was head of comedy, left in October to join Kenya Barris’s Khalabo Ink Society production company.

The losses are a disappointment to Disney given the emphasis it has placed on diversity, especially in recent years with ABC hits like “Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat” and the blockbuster success of “Black Panther” this year.

No one TheWrap spoke to for this story thought Disney had an internal problem with race.

Dungey told top management who tried to convince her to stay that she “loves” Iger, but was not willing to remain. “She wants to be a free agent, she wants to test the market,” said the first insider.

While Dungey does not currently have a job lined up, the prevailing thought is that her options post-Disney would be wide open.

Before Disney announced plans in 2017 to buy the entertainment assets of Fox, Dungey, who had been at the helm of ABC Entertainment since February 2016, had been told she was in line for a broader role at Disney/ABC, the person familiar with Iger’s thinking told TheWrap.

After Disney changed course, however, opting to merge its divisions with Fox, plans for what would have been a promotion for Dungey were put on hold. When Dungey was offered a new contract but for her same position, she opted out.

Also Read: Channing Dungey Exits as ABC Chief, Freeform’s Karey Burke to Replace Her

Walden, who will head Disney’s non-sports TV operations, and Rice, who will serve as chairman, both made pitched efforts to get Dungey to stay, according to three knowledgeable individuals. They took her to dinner and outlined a future in which she had key responsibilities in programming decisions across all of Disney’s growing platforms.

But since neither executive is in place as yet, they were not in a position to make concrete offers, one executive told TheWrap. That executive said that Walden and Rice still hold out hope of luring Dungey back in the future.

Also Read: ABC’s Channing Dungey Says Kenya Barris Was ‘Frustrated’ by Limitations of Broadcast TV

Dungey had been at ABC since 2004 and plans to remain at the network to see through the transition period as her successor Burke takes over.

“I’m incredibly proud of what the team and I have accomplished over the years, and all the meaningful and impactful programming we’ve developed. This job has been the highlight of my career. While I’ve loved every moment, and knew I could call ABC home for many years to come, I’m excited to tackle new challenges,” Dungey said in a statement on Friday.

Group president Ben Sherwood, it was announced in September, would leave once Rice and Walden come on board.

Related stories from TheWrap:

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ABC President Channing Dungey Explains Why ‘Castle’ and ‘Nashville’ Had to Go

Channing Dungey Is Broadcast TV’s First Black President — Years Too Late

Channing Dungey decided to leave ABC Entertainment despite direct appeals from incoming leaders Dana Walden and Peter Rice and a close relationship with Disney CEO Bob Iger, multiple insiders told TheWrap.

Dungey, the president of ABC Entertainment, informed her Disney bosses last week that she did not intend to renew her contract when it came up in early 2019. That led them to announce Friday that Karey Burke, head of original programming for Disney’s Freeform, would replace her.

“She was not pushed. She chose not to renew her deal which expires in February,” one knowledgeable insider told TheWrap. “As soon as she informed them that she wasn’t renewing, they made an immediate change to Karey.”

Dungey’s decision to leave despite not having another position elsewhere is a personal disappointment to Iger, who was her mentor in Disney’s prestigious mentoring program earlier in her career, according to the insider. An individual with knowledge of Iger’s thinking confirmed that Iger personally mentored Dungey, saying, “Bob was and still is a big fan.”

Dungey declined to comment for this story.

Dungey, well-liked and highly regarded, was the first black executive to be named head of a major broadcast network.

Her time running ABC had a smattering of successes — “Roseanne,” “The Good Doctor” and a solid, but expensive “American Idol” reboot — but has recently been tarnished some having lost Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris to Netflix, who lured the creators with more freedom and fatter checks, and a PR debacle that saw the network cancel its top-rated series in years in “Roseanne,” after star Roseanne Barr came under fire for a racist tweet.

Dungey is the most recent in a string of top black executives at the network to depart. Head of drama Nne Ebong left in August and Jamila Hunter, who was head of comedy, left in October to join Kenya Barris’s Khalabo Ink Society production company.

The losses are a disappointment to Disney given the emphasis it has placed on diversity, especially in recent years with ABC hits like “Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat” and the blockbuster success of “Black Panther” this year.

No one TheWrap spoke to for this story thought Disney had an internal problem with race.

Dungey told top management who tried to convince her to stay that she “loves” Iger, but was not willing to remain. “She wants to be a free agent, she wants to test the market,” said the first insider.

While Dungey does not currently have a job lined up, the prevailing thought is that her options post-Disney would be wide open.

Before Disney announced plans in 2017 to buy the entertainment assets of Fox, Dungey, who had been at the helm of ABC Entertainment since February 2016, had been told she was in line for a broader role at Disney/ABC, the person familiar with Iger’s thinking told TheWrap.

After Disney changed course, however, opting to merge its divisions with Fox, plans for what would have been a promotion for Dungey were put on hold. When Dungey was offered a new contract but for her same position, she opted out.

Walden, who will head Disney’s non-sports TV operations, and Rice, who will serve as chairman, both made pitched efforts to get Dungey to stay, according to three knowledgeable individuals. They took her to dinner and outlined a future in which she had key responsibilities in programming decisions across all of Disney’s growing platforms.

But since neither executive is in place as yet, they were not in a position to make concrete offers, one executive told TheWrap. That executive said that Walden and Rice still hold out hope of luring Dungey back in the future.

Dungey had been at ABC since 2004 and plans to remain at the network to see through the transition period as her successor Burke takes over.

“I’m incredibly proud of what the team and I have accomplished over the years, and all the meaningful and impactful programming we’ve developed. This job has been the highlight of my career. While I’ve loved every moment, and knew I could call ABC home for many years to come, I’m excited to tackle new challenges,” Dungey said in a statement on Friday.

Group president Ben Sherwood, it was announced in September, would leave once Rice and Walden come on board.

Related stories from TheWrap:

ABC Head Channing Dungey Says Donald Trump Made Her Rethink Programming Strategy

ABC President Channing Dungey Explains Why 'Castle' and 'Nashville' Had to Go

Channing Dungey Is Broadcast TV's First Black President — Years Too Late

AMC’s Charlie Collier to Become Entertainment CEO of ‘New Fox’

AMC’s Charlie Collier will run entertainment for “New Fox” following the close of 21st Century Fox’s sale of film and TV assets to Disney.

Collier’s title will be CEO of entertainment. He had previously served as President and General Manager for AMC Networks.

“Charlie is a singular talent, combining creative success with operational expertise to lead the AMC Network with some of television’s most memorable programming,” said “New Fox” CEO Lachlan Murdoch.  “Charlie’s skills and experience will help Fox continue to transform the broadcast television business.”

Also Read: AMC Stock Shows Signs of Life After Major ‘Walking Dead’ Drop

Following the close of the deal, which is expected sometime early next year, Gary Newman will leave the company. Newman, along with Dana Walden, had served as chairmen and CEOs of the Fox Television Group. Walden is moving over to Disney to lead Disney-ABC’s TV networks and studio. Walden and Newman will remain in their current roles with Fox until the close of the deal. Collier will begin to transition into his new role Nov. 1.

“I am incredibly gratified by the accomplishments, relationships and legacy we created during my time with the Fox family,” said Newman in a statement. “Charlie is a longtime friend and colleague and he will be inheriting a team of passionate and incredibly talented executives.  This accelerated transition allows me to pursue new opportunities on my own timeline with the comfort I am leaving the network in capable hands.”

Per an insider with knowledge of the situation, it was always the plan for Newman to remain with Fox through the duration of the current broadcast TV season. The company had been looking for a permanent entertainment CEO, and once they found Collier they decided to make the announcement now.

Also Read: Peter Rice, Dana Walden to Lead Disney-ABC’s TV Networks and Studio After Fox Deal Closes

The hire also signals that Fox, despite losing its sister studio 20th Century Fox in the deal to Disney, will remain a major player in the scripted business. The company has made live sports a major part of its programming strategy, with “Thursday Night Football” deal and its upcoming WWE deal for “Smackdown Live.” Under Collier, AMC launched its scripted business, with “The Walking Dead,” as well as the Emmy-winning “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.” Collier has previously held roles with Oxygen and A&E Networks.

“I can’t imagine a more exciting next step than this new role at Fox, which combines the power and reach of a broadcast division, some of the best live assets on the planet from which to build entertainment audiences and fan engagement, and a proven leadership team with a ‘make new rules’ start-up mentality,” said Collier. “I’m proud of my last decade-plus at AMC Networks as the combination of a remarkable team and world-class talent led a transformation of AMCN into both a thriving global entertainment company and a premier original programmer.”

AMC Networks, meanwhile, will continue to be led by CEO Josh Sapan and COO Ed Carroll. David Madden also joined last year as president of programming for AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios. The company is looking for a permanent replacement for Collier.

“Charlie Collier is a stellar executive and leader. This is a great opportunity for him and we know he will make an enormous contribution to this new venture.,” said Carroll. “We will miss him and are so thankful for his many achievements here over the past decade, helping to build AMC into a powerful brand and force in original programming, and to build AMC Studios into a robust entity producing outstanding content across our portfolio of national networks. We wish him great success.”

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AMC’s Charlie Collier will run entertainment for “New Fox” following the close of 21st Century Fox’s sale of film and TV assets to Disney.

Collier’s title will be CEO of entertainment. He had previously served as President and General Manager for AMC Networks.

“Charlie is a singular talent, combining creative success with operational expertise to lead the AMC Network with some of television’s most memorable programming,” said “New Fox” CEO Lachlan Murdoch.  “Charlie’s skills and experience will help Fox continue to transform the broadcast television business.”

Following the close of the deal, which is expected sometime early next year, Gary Newman will leave the company. Newman, along with Dana Walden, had served as chairmen and CEOs of the Fox Television Group. Walden is moving over to Disney to lead Disney-ABC’s TV networks and studio. Walden and Newman will remain in their current roles with Fox until the close of the deal. Collier will begin to transition into his new role Nov. 1.

“I am incredibly gratified by the accomplishments, relationships and legacy we created during my time with the Fox family,” said Newman in a statement. “Charlie is a longtime friend and colleague and he will be inheriting a team of passionate and incredibly talented executives.  This accelerated transition allows me to pursue new opportunities on my own timeline with the comfort I am leaving the network in capable hands.”

Per an insider with knowledge of the situation, it was always the plan for Newman to remain with Fox through the duration of the current broadcast TV season. The company had been looking for a permanent entertainment CEO, and once they found Collier they decided to make the announcement now.

The hire also signals that Fox, despite losing its sister studio 20th Century Fox in the deal to Disney, will remain a major player in the scripted business. The company has made live sports a major part of its programming strategy, with “Thursday Night Football” deal and its upcoming WWE deal for “Smackdown Live.” Under Collier, AMC launched its scripted business, with “The Walking Dead,” as well as the Emmy-winning “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.” Collier has previously held roles with Oxygen and A&E Networks.

“I can’t imagine a more exciting next step than this new role at Fox, which combines the power and reach of a broadcast division, some of the best live assets on the planet from which to build entertainment audiences and fan engagement, and a proven leadership team with a ‘make new rules’ start-up mentality,” said Collier. “I’m proud of my last decade-plus at AMC Networks as the combination of a remarkable team and world-class talent led a transformation of AMCN into both a thriving global entertainment company and a premier original programmer.”

AMC Networks, meanwhile, will continue to be led by CEO Josh Sapan and COO Ed Carroll. David Madden also joined last year as president of programming for AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios. The company is looking for a permanent replacement for Collier.

“Charlie Collier is a stellar executive and leader. This is a great opportunity for him and we know he will make an enormous contribution to this new venture.,” said Carroll. “We will miss him and are so thankful for his many achievements here over the past decade, helping to build AMC into a powerful brand and force in original programming, and to build AMC Studios into a robust entity producing outstanding content across our portfolio of national networks. We wish him great success.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

JB Smoove Signs Development Deal With 20th Century Fox TV

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Analysis: Peter Rice, Dana Walden Tasked With Forging New Path for Production at Enlarged Disney

Disney is about to become the undisputed titan of TV series production once the media giant completes its buyout of 21st Century Fox assets. The question of how all of that activity will be strategically deployed under the Disney umbrella remains uncle…

Disney is about to become the undisputed titan of TV series production once the media giant completes its buyout of 21st Century Fox assets. The question of how all of that activity will be strategically deployed under the Disney umbrella remains unclear even after Monday’s formal announcement of the management hierarchy for TV led by […]

What Fox Execs Peter Rice, Dana Walden, and John Landgraf Can Expect As They Move to Disney

Burning questions: Will the TV studios merge, how will Walden change ABC Entertainment, what happens back at Fox, and more.

When the Walt Disney Company unveiled much of its new TV networks organizational structure Monday, it didn’t come with many surprises: As expected, Peter Rice will assume oversight as chairman of Walt Disney Television and co-chair of Disney Media Networks once the company closes its acquisition of 21st Century Fox.

Under Rice, as previously reported, Dana Walden has been named chairman of Disney TV Studios and ABC Entertainment, while John Landgraf will continue to oversee FX Networks and FX Productions as chairman. National Geographic Partners chairman Gary Knell, Disney Channels Worldwide president/COO Gary Marsh and ABC News president James Goldston will also answer to Rice.

With long-time 21st Century Fox execs taking over key Disney TV oversight, Burbank’s about to feel a lot more like Century City. And that’s clearly Disney CEO Bob Iger’s goal: “The strength of 21st Century Fox’s first-class management talent has always been a compelling part of this opportunity for us,” he said in a statement.

But Monday’s announcement still leaves plenty of burning questions when it comes to how things will eventually shake out once the deal is finalized and Rice, Walden, Landgraf, and Knell officially put on their Mouse ears. Here’s what to keep an eye on in the coming months:

What changes will Walden make to ABC Entertainment, and how does that impact Channing Dungey?

Walden will have oversight over several divisions, including studios, the Freeform network and the ABC-owned TV stations group. But ABC Entertainment will be by far the most high profile. Walden and Dungey worked together in the past, but with Walden as the seller (as head of 20th Century Fox TV) and Dungey as the buyer (ABC runs 20th shows including “Modern Family” and “Fresh Off the Boat”), in addition to being competitors. That’s made for an adversarial situation, but now they’re on the same team. What does Walden want out of Dungey? Or does she want her own person running ABC? The Alphabet network is off to a tepid fall, landing in fourth place among adults 18-49 during premiere week.

Will ABC Studios and 20th Century Fox TV be merged, and when?

For now, both studios will continue to operate separately under ABC Studios president Patrick Moran and 20th Century Fox TV presidents Jonathan Davis and Howard Kurtzman, with all three executives reporting to Walden. But in the long term, it doesn’t really make sense to keep two different infrastructures — the whole point of mergers like this one are the financial savings once operations are merged.

Interestingly, although Davis and Kurtzman already report to Walden and are moving with her to Disney, Moran also spent years working for Walden — as senior VP of drama at 20th, overseeing the development of shows such as “Glee” before joining ABC in 2010. That means Walden has a surplus of studio execs in her arsenal, and that doesn’t even include Fox 21 Television studios president Bert Salke, who has his own portfolio of programming. Meanwhile, if she does merge 20th Century Fox TV and ABC Studios, besides figuring out the new management structure, Walden would have to decide the new studio branding, and how it might communicate the amount of product the studio will aim to produce in-house vs. for other outlets.

Where does Disney’s Hulu investment, as well as its new streaming service, play into this?

Once the 21st Century Fox acquisition is complete, Disney will hold a 60 percent stake in the streaming service. Given its high-caliber original programming (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), on par with FX-style content, there has been some speculation that Landgraf might add some Hulu responsibilities to his oversight. But that wasn’t a part of Monday’s announcement. Disney’s new streaming service, reportedly to be called “Disney Play,” also continues to apparently operate under a separate plane, under Ricky Strauss.

What kinds of layoffs and other changes are in store?

Reports have suggested that as many as 5,000 positions will be eliminated in TV and film, from both Disney and Fox, once the deal is done and redundancies are identified. “Disney expects over $2 billion in synergies from the Fox acquisition, with the overwhelming majority of that from cost-savings–meaning job cuts,” BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield wrote in a report last year. “In order to reduce costs by upwards of $2 billion, we believe Disney will need to cut well over 5,000 jobs.”

Is Peter Rice truly in line to succeed Iger at Disney?

We’ve heard this before, of course, and the search for a Bob Iger successor has been a Hollywood parlor game for years. Tom Staggs was seen as the likely candidate, but he was pushed out in 2015. Disney Media Networks co-chair and Disney/ABC TV president Ben Sherwood was on the rise at one point, but now he’ll be leaving the company once the 21st Century Fox acquisition is finalized. Other names bandied about have included Disney parks and resorts boss Bob Chapek, and Kevin Mayer, Disney’s direct-to-consumer/international chairman. In the meantime, Iger has continued to extend his contract at Disney, which he will now lead through December 2021. Has he finally found his proper successor? The next three years may serve as a bit of a tryout for Rice, who has something else in his favor: Rupert Murdoch, who will now be one of Disney’s biggest shareholders.

What will the ‘New Fox’ culture look like without Rice, Walden, and Landgraf?

Fox TV Group chairman Gary Newman is negotiating to continue running a slimmed-down Fox network once most of the 21st Century Fox assets decamp for Disney — giving the broadcaster some continuity. But Newman and Walden have been a team since 1999, and have run the Fox network together since 2014, so this will also represent a tremendous adjustment for the folks left behind. Disney will continue to sublet space on the Fox lot in Century City, which means entities like FX will stay physically put for now — but suddenly, Fox network staffers who run into 20th Century Fox TV or FX colleagues on the way to the cafeteria will have to contend with the surreal reality that they now work for completely separate corporate entities. Helping cushion the change at Fox is that the network’s new strategy already appears to be working: With “Thursday Night Football” and more mainstream fare like “Last Man Standing,” the network is off to a strong fall.

Peter Rice, Dana Walden to Lead Disney-ABC’s TV Networks and Studio After Fox Deal Closes

Peter Rice and Dana Walden will lead Disney-ABC’s TV networks and studio after the Fox acquisition closes, the Walt Disney Company said on Monday. Under them, John Landgraf and Gary E. Knell will serve as chairmen of FX and Nat Geo Partners.

Ben Sherwood, the co-chair of Disney Media Networks and the president of the Disney-ABC Television Group, will remain in his role until the Fox deal is finished. We learned last month that he would be leaving.

The 21st Century Fox executives selected to move over to the high-level Disney roles are not unexpected — but they are very noteworthy and important promotions.

Also Read: Nick Cannon Is Developing a Weekly Late-Night Show at Fox

Rice is currently president of 21st Century Fox and chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group. Walden currently oversees Fox’s broadcast network and its studio with partner Gary Newman, who is expected to stay put. Knell is currently president and CEO of the National Geographic Society; Landgraf is CEO for the FX networks and its studio.

Soon, Walden, Landgraf and Knell will report to Rice — as will Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Channels Worldwide. James Goldston, the president of ABC News, will also report in to Rice, who himself reports directly to Bob Iger.

Here is the list of Walden’s direct reports:
– Channing Dungey, president, ABC Entertainment
– Patrick Moran, president, ABC Studios
– Jonathan Davis and Howard Kurtzman, presidents of Twentieth Century Fox Television
– Bert Salke, president, Fox 21 Television Studios
– Tom Ascheim, president, Freeform
– Wendy McMahon, president, ABC Owned Television Stations Group

Also Read: Hope Hicks Hired as New Fox’s Chief Communications Officer

“The strength of 21st Century Fox’s first-class management talent has always been a compelling part of this opportunity for us,” said Iger, the chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “Upon completion of the acquisition, this new structure positions these proven leaders to help drive maximum value from a greatly enhanced portfolio of incredible brands and businesses.”

“I want to personally thank Ben Sherwood for his years of service at ABC and Disney,” he added. “Ben has been a valued colleague, and I deeply appreciate his many contributions and insights, as well as his professionalism and cooperation in this transition.”

“I love making television and have been fortunate to work with incredibly talented executives and storytellers,” Rice said. “Disney is the world’s preeminent creative company, and I look forward to working for Bob, and with his exceptional leadership team, to build on that amazing legacy. I also want to thank Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch for the privilege of working on such a wide array of movies and television, both entertainment and sports. It has been a wonderful thirty years.”

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Peter Rice and Dana Walden will lead Disney-ABC’s TV networks and studio after the Fox acquisition closes, the Walt Disney Company said on Monday. Under them, John Landgraf and Gary E. Knell will serve as chairmen of FX and Nat Geo Partners.

Ben Sherwood, the co-chair of Disney Media Networks and the president of the Disney-ABC Television Group, will remain in his role until the Fox deal is finished. We learned last month that he would be leaving.

The 21st Century Fox executives selected to move over to the high-level Disney roles are not unexpected — but they are very noteworthy and important promotions.

Rice is currently president of 21st Century Fox and chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group. Walden currently oversees Fox’s broadcast network and its studio with partner Gary Newman, who is expected to stay put. Knell is currently president and CEO of the National Geographic Society; Landgraf is CEO for the FX networks and its studio.

Soon, Walden, Landgraf and Knell will report to Rice — as will Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Channels Worldwide. James Goldston, the president of ABC News, will also report in to Rice, who himself reports directly to Bob Iger.

Here is the list of Walden’s direct reports:
– Channing Dungey, president, ABC Entertainment
- Patrick Moran, president, ABC Studios
- Jonathan Davis and Howard Kurtzman, presidents of Twentieth Century Fox Television
- Bert Salke, president, Fox 21 Television Studios
– Tom Ascheim, president, Freeform
- Wendy McMahon, president, ABC Owned Television Stations Group

“The strength of 21st Century Fox’s first-class management talent has always been a compelling part of this opportunity for us,” said Iger, the chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “Upon completion of the acquisition, this new structure positions these proven leaders to help drive maximum value from a greatly enhanced portfolio of incredible brands and businesses.”

“I want to personally thank Ben Sherwood for his years of service at ABC and Disney,” he added. “Ben has been a valued colleague, and I deeply appreciate his many contributions and insights, as well as his professionalism and cooperation in this transition.”

“I love making television and have been fortunate to work with incredibly talented executives and storytellers,” Rice said. “Disney is the world’s preeminent creative company, and I look forward to working for Bob, and with his exceptional leadership team, to build on that amazing legacy. I also want to thank Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch for the privilege of working on such a wide array of movies and television, both entertainment and sports. It has been a wonderful thirty years.”

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Janelle Monáe Joins Voice Cast of Disney's 'Lady and the Tramp' Reboot

'Star Wars': Jon Favreau Releases First Details About TV Show for Disney Streaming Service

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Rupert Murdoch and Sons Pay Soars as Fox-Disney Deal Awaits Completion

Disney Unveils Top TV Executive Structure Post Fox Acquisition: Peter Rice, Dana Walden, John Landgraf, Gary Knell Joining

Ending months of speculation and weeks of deal-making, Disney this morning officially announced the top TV executives from 21st Century Fox who will transition to Disney following its $71.3 billion acquisition of key Fox assets. As expected, the list i…

Ending months of speculation and weeks of deal-making, Disney this morning officially announced the top TV executives from 21st Century Fox who will transition to Disney following its $71.3 billion acquisition of key Fox assets. As expected, the list includes 21st Century Fox president and Chairman & CEO of Fox Networks Group Peter Rice, Fox TV Group chairman and CEO Dana Walden, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf and Gary E. Knell, CEO of National Geographic Partners. Also…

NBC Turnaround Team’s About-Face: Greenblatt Exit Follows Salke’s, But Network Is Still No. 1

NBC has lost a lot of talent in 2018 — and we’re not talking about the kind you see on-screen. Chairman Bob Greenblatt’s final day leading the network and its studio is Tuesday, when he follows his former lieutenant Jen Salke out the …

NBC has lost a lot of talent in 2018 — and we’re not talking about the kind you see on-screen. Chairman Bob Greenblatt’s final day leading the network and its studio is Tuesday, when he follows his former lieutenant Jen Salke out the door.

In February, Salke left her role as head of NBC’s scripted team to lead Amazon Studios, a position that was vacated after accusations of sexual misconduct were made against Roy Price. That candidate search, we’ve been told, came down to Salke and Fox’s Dana Walden, who herself should soon be doing big things for Disney.

Three months later, Salke brought Vernon Sanders, who worked with her under his production deal at NBCUniversal, to Amazon as Albert Cheng’s co-head of TV. That recruitment was another blow to NBC. Like Salke, Sanders is both well-respected and generally beloved by his peers in the industry.

How does a network handle a year like this one for NBC? Well, first you remind yourself that you’re No. 1 in Nielsen TV ratings — and then you promote tandems to replace strong individuals — something the Comcast-owned company has done in both of these non-ideal situations.

About a week after Salke’s departure, NBC upped Tracey Pakosta (comedy) and Lisa Katz (drama) to lead its scripted team as a duo. On Wednesday, the pairing of Paul Telegdy (unscripted) and George Cheeks (late-night) will officially takeover Greenblatt’s high-profile role.

It almost didn’t happen like this, though. The big-personality Salke was groomed to succeed Greenblatt — and almost everyone agreed that she was ready to be a network head. The job just wasn’t there at NBC. Had she had the foresight to stick around for this, it would have been Salke promoted to co-chair with Telegdy, and not Cheeks. Let’s take a moment to appreciate how extroverted a tandem the industry party dream-team of Salke and Telegdy would have been.

All good? Now let’s be serious and take more than a moment to reflect upon Greenblatt and Salke’s — the architects of NBC’s historic turnaround — joint success.

Greenblatt joined NBC in the middle of the 2010-11 TV season, one which NBC finished tied for last place in the key adults 18-49 demographic among the Big 4 broadcast networks. It was fourth alone in total viewers. That season wasn’t an outlier — it was NBC’s seventh straight last-place finish in terms of overall audience members. The network had been dead last or tied for last in the demo over each of those seasons as well.

After Salke became head of scripted in July 2011, she and boss Bob immediately brought NBC up to No. 3 for two years running. The network then won four of the next five traditional September to May seasons. During that stretch, NBC was No. 2 to CBS in total eyeballs each year.

Here, we should point out that “Sunday Night Football” and the Olympics both pre-date the Greenblatt era by more than a decade — so it wasn’t that.

The success is even greater when looking at a full-year, 52-week run, which NBC naturally prefers to do now that it’s won eight summers in a row in the key demo and four in total viewers. Wouldn’t you?

Earlier this month, NBC touted its first outright September-September victory, dropping CBS from the tallest total-viewer podium. That achievement played into why Greenblatt left, a person with knowledge of this past weekend’s exit discussions with NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke tells TheWrap.

Greenblatt was driven to turn in a complete NBC turnaround, which he viewed as finishing first outright. So, checkmark there. Plus, the musical theater nerd — who once accompanied Dolly Parton on the piano at an NBC upfront event — just won his Emmy for the John Legend-starring “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.” What more was there to accomplish?

Add in the recent and sudden death of friend Craig Zadan, which hit Greenblatt particularly hard, per insiders, making him reconsider his priorities.

Finally, there is the seven-year itch Bob seems to have a repeated need to scratch, according to his resume. It was time, it seems.

While he’ll stay on as a consultant to aid Telegdy and Cheeks and continue to work on NBC’s annual live-TV musicals, it’s unclear what Greenblatt’s next “challenge” will be. He’s got time to figure it out. With the traditional fall television season starting tonight, NBC does not.

(Which reminds us: Watch the new season of “The Voice” premiere tonight at 8/7 and stick around for the series premiere of “Manifest” at 10!)

So where does the network go from here? Well, we know who gets Greenblatt and Salke’s offices — but there are more key jobs to replenish.

President of Universal Television Alternative Studio Meredith Ahr will likely backfill Telegdy’s role, we’re told. Cheeks’ now-vacated job is also probable to be filled from within, as Burke believes in building up — and rewarding — a strong internal farm system.

That’s important. And it’s just as important not to panic. Remember, NBC employees: Though Greenblatt may be riding off into the sunset on Tuesday, “This Is Us” returns for Season 3 like an hour later. It’ll all be OK.

Related stories from TheWrap:

NBC News Chief Andy Lack Accused of Turning Blind Eye to Sexual Misconduct Claims

Kenan Thompson Sitcom Gets Pilot Production Commitment From NBC

NBC's Emmy Awards Sink to Record-Low 10.2 Million Viewers

‘New Fox’ Could Be a Good Thing For Independent Studios Shut Out Elsewhere, Network Execs Contend

TCA: New comedies in the works include a Kaitlin Olson/Leah Remini pilot from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s” Rob McElhenney.

It’s not business as usual at Fox. But Fox TV Group chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman said the future of the network isn’t as murky as some might expect, as sister studio 20th Century Fox TV and much of the 21st Century Fox assets move to Disney.

The ‘New Fox’ network will continue to look and act much like the old Fox network on TV screens, they told reporters on Thursday at the Television Critics Association press tour. But behind the scenes, Fox will now focus on developing shows with independent studios like Sony Pictures TV, Lionsgate, MGM, Warner Bros. TV and others without a network pipeline.

“Certainly it will be the only network to operate with complete independence,” Walden said. “It will have the opportunity to pick up shows, the best shows, from any production company with no studio agenda. We see this as a great opportunity to get vibrant independent studios back on broadcast. Indies have gotten the squeeze.”

Walden said Fox will now be “an aggressive buyer from all studios and top creators.”

The irony, of course, is Fox was born in 1986 as the first network with a major studio sibling. And when the financial and syndication rules sunset at the start of the 1990s, Fox was ready to own more of its own content. In the decades since, it’s become the norm that networks own the majority of their own content — particularly in an age where programming has a long tail in the streaming and VOD world.

“Five years ago [indies] landed 16 new series on the major broadcast networks. This year, that number is just six,” Walden noted. “Not good for them or the creative vitality of the business. At New Fox, they’ll have more opportunity because the independents will be on a completely even playing field. I’m talking about companies like Sony MGM, Lionsgate, and Warners. They’ve invested in major talent and have great IP. We want to be their first choice among the Big 4 networks. The truth is, hits can come from anywhere and in fact, they already do.”

Walden also pointed out that, coincidentally, the top-rated series on ABC (“Roseanne”), CBS (“The Big Bang Theory”) and NBC (“This Is Us”) last year weren’t produced by their in-house studios.

According to Walden, Fox’s development last season was 90 percent from its own studio; this year, that will be reduced to 50 percent, with the other half coming from outside sources.

“Our long-term goal is a well-rounded schedule with projects coming from everywhere,” she added.

Also, despite adding Thursday Night Football to next season’s schedule, and “WWE Smackdown” to Fridays starting in 2019, Walden said she didn’t see the network changing its programming tone (it has already moved to more procedural/character hybrids like “9-1-1”). And she also believes the network’s shelf space hasn’t changed: “Thursday Night Football” is only for 11 weeks; and now that series air without repeats and with fewer episodes, that requires more premieres.

Fox will continue to ask for a co-ownership stake in new projects ordered at the network, but Fox won’t produce those shows.

As for existing programs like “The Simpsons,” which is an expensive program for Fox 30 years in, Walden and Newman said there are still “no plans for them to go anywhere other than Fox.”

Said Walden: “There’s so much upside and benefit to having a great Emmy-winning, smart, provocative quality show, that there’s no consideration of not ordering more Simpsons.”

Added Newman: “There’s no difference ‘The Simpsons’ on Fox with ‘The Big Bang Theory’ (another expensive series, owned by outside studio Warner Bros. TV) on CBS… I feel confident Disney and Fox will find a way to both have interest in that show. I anticipate it continuing on the Fox network.”

Walden, who is expected to move to Disney to oversee network and studio entertainment programming once the Disney/Fox deal is done, wouldn’t comment on her future position. But she did open with a joke: “Not since my kids were little have I been asked so many times about going to Disney.”

“Unfortunately we’re limited to what we can say because the approval process still ongoing,” she added. “And there are some things still to be resolved, including the management structure at both companies and what the future holds for Gary and me.”

As for current development, comedies in the works for potential midseason berths are a series from Rob McElhenney starring Leah Remini and Kaitlin Olson, and the single-camera comedy “Bless This Mess” from executive producers Liz Meriwether and Lake Bell.

On the diversity front, Walden reported that at the corporate level, 46 percent of Fox TV Group’s vice presidents and above are female. And on screen, 49 percent of series regulars are female and 45 percent are ethnically diverse.

“We’re proud to be industry leaders — although we know there’s always more work to be done,” she said.

Fox Broadcast, Studio Chiefs Talk Network’s Future, ‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Last Man Standing’

Dana Walden opened with a joke. “Not since my kids were little have I been asked so many times about going to Disney,” Walden said Thursday at the top of her Television Critics Association summer press tour executive session with fellow Fox…

Dana Walden opened with a joke. “Not since my kids were little have I been asked so many times about going to Disney,” Walden said Thursday at the top of her Television Critics Association summer press tour executive session with fellow Fox Television group co-CEO Gary Newman. The two executives’ futures have been the subject […]

Dana Walden Touts ‘Complete Independence’ of ‘New Fox’ After Disney Merger

Though Dana Walden reportedly won’t stick around after Fox’s merger with Disney closes, she didn’t act like she had one foot out the door, spending a lot of time during Fox’s executive session at TCA touting “New Fox.&#822…

Though Dana Walden reportedly won’t stick around after Fox’s merger with Disney closes, she didn’t act like she had one foot out the door, spending a lot of time during Fox’s executive session at TCA touting “New Fox.”

Noting that Fox will be “the only network to operate with complete independence,” Walden said she wants the post-merger Fox to become the place that brings back independent studios. “We see this as great opportunity to get vibrant independent studios back on broadcast. Indies have gotten squeezed.”

Walden noted that five years ago, 16 new series on major networks came from independent studios, but that number fell to six this year.

“They’ll have more opportunity because the independents will be on a completely even playing field,” she said, specifically calling out Sony Picture TV, MGM, Lionsgate and Warner Bros. “We want to be their first choice among the Big 4 networks.” She noted that three of the past season’s top-rated series on broadcast — “Roseanne,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “This Is Us” all came from studios not affiliated with their networks.

“New Fox will be an aggressive buyer from all studios and top creators,” she said, adding that 90 percent of their development slate this past season came from their own studio, but that number will be reduced to 50 percent this year. Every new series they order, Fox will have a 50 percent ownership stake.

“Our long-term goal is a well rounded schedule with projects coming from anywhere,” said Walden.

But she may not be there to see it.

Walden, along with 21st Century Fox president Peter Rice and Fox Television Group chairman Dana Walden are expected to move to leadership roles at Disney-ABC Television Group an individual with knowledge of internal talks told TheWrap. While Rice is an almost certain get, Walden is still a maybe. The deal is expected to be close in the first half of 2019.

Walden remained coy about her future on Thursday, saying that no decision has been made in regards to the future for her or fellow Fox TV Group CEO Gary Newman. “Some things are still to be resolved, including the management structure at both companies and what the future holds for Gary and me,” she said, adding the intrigue over “New Fox” inspired a new drinking game called “business as usual.”

But she certainly put on a good poker face.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Fox and Disney Shareholders Vote to Approve $71.3 Billion Merger

Disney/Fox Begins to Take Shape: Peter Rice, Dana Walden Expected to Lead Newly Merged TV Group

Disney Chief Bob Iger's Response to Comcast Bowing Out of Fox Sweepstakes: 'Holy Crap'

Dana Walden Says ‘I Guess the Man Is Going to Take the Money Question’ at Fox Press Conference

Fox co-chief Dana Walden took exception to a reporter’s question about “The Simpsons” financials during she and Gary Newman’s executive session at the Television Critics Association press tour.

We transcribed exactly how it transpired to be fair to both parties:

Reporter: “For either Gary or Dana, when you guys only ran 20th Century Fox and you were negotiating a deal with Fox [broadcast], you always made sure that you sold it at top dollar. Even though it was the same company, Fox had to justify it on their ledger sheet… So that leaves shows like ‘The Simpsons,’ which I would imagine the deal at the Fox Broadcasting Company is a not-expensive deal for a show that’s been on longer than some people in this room have been alive. I’m wondering, does it make financial sense once New Fox is separated Old Fox or Dead Fox that the show continues to be on the Fox Broadcasting Company, once that deal expires? Does it make sense financially, if you’re still at this company in two years, which you most likely won’t, would you say let’s keep it on given the ratings of ‘The Simpsons’ or does it go somewhere else?”

Walden: “Thanks for that thoughtful idea of how we can rebrand Fox. You know what, ‘The Simpsons’ is so much a part of the brand and there is such an incredible halo effect of that show and the other animated series that are on our Sunday night, there are no plans for them to go anywhere other than Fox. We have a couple of years of episodes already in progress on ‘The Simpsons.’ So, down the line what kind of decisions are made I can’t really speak to, but for the foreseeable future there’s so much upside and benefit to having a great, Emmy Award-winning, smart, provocative, quality show that there’s no consideration of not ordering more ‘Simpsons.’”

Also Read: ‘The Mick’ Star Kaitlin Olson to Return to Fox in Rob McElhenney Comedy Pilot

That’s when the journalist asked Newman to weigh in as well.

Reporter: “Gary, do you want to speak in as someone who also used to work in business affairs? You also know the money just as well. Do you think financially though it will– it’s not a cheap show, right? Does that make sense? I mean, it’s a great thing to have but at what cost?”

Walden: “I guess the man is going to take the money question…”

Some critics in the ballroom laughed, others cheered and still others had an “Ooooooo” response.

Also Read: There Was a ‘Very Real’ Chance ‘Lethal Weapon’ Was Going to Be Canceled, Fox Boss Says

Reporter: “No, no. I said both of you, Dana. I said both of you know the money — I just said Gary also…”

Newman: “You’re just trying to get a different answer.”

Reporter: “Yes.”

(He didn’t get a much different one.)

Related stories from TheWrap:

There Was a ‘Very Real’ Chance ‘Lethal Weapon’ Was Going to Be Canceled, Fox Boss Says

Fox Orders Justin Timberlake’s ‘Spin the Wheel’ Game Show

Rob Lowe to Host ‘Mental Samurai’ Competition Series on Fox

Fox Orders Nick Cannon-Hosted Celebrity Singing Competition Series ‘The Masked Singer’

Fox co-chief Dana Walden took exception to a reporter’s question about “The Simpsons” financials during she and Gary Newman’s executive session at the Television Critics Association press tour.

We transcribed exactly how it transpired to be fair to both parties:

Reporter: “For either Gary or Dana, when you guys only ran 20th Century Fox and you were negotiating a deal with Fox [broadcast], you always made sure that you sold it at top dollar. Even though it was the same company, Fox had to justify it on their ledger sheet… So that leaves shows like ‘The Simpsons,’ which I would imagine the deal at the Fox Broadcasting Company is a not-expensive deal for a show that’s been on longer than some people in this room have been alive. I’m wondering, does it make financial sense once New Fox is separated Old Fox or Dead Fox that the show continues to be on the Fox Broadcasting Company, once that deal expires? Does it make sense financially, if you’re still at this company in two years, which you most likely won’t, would you say let’s keep it on given the ratings of ‘The Simpsons’ or does it go somewhere else?”

Walden: “Thanks for that thoughtful idea of how we can rebrand Fox. You know what, ‘The Simpsons’ is so much a part of the brand and there is such an incredible halo effect of that show and the other animated series that are on our Sunday night, there are no plans for them to go anywhere other than Fox. We have a couple of years of episodes already in progress on ‘The Simpsons.’ So, down the line what kind of decisions are made I can’t really speak to, but for the foreseeable future there’s so much upside and benefit to having a great, Emmy Award-winning, smart, provocative, quality show that there’s no consideration of not ordering more ‘Simpsons.'”

That’s when the journalist asked Newman to weigh in as well.

Reporter: “Gary, do you want to speak in as someone who also used to work in business affairs? You also know the money just as well. Do you think financially though it will– it’s not a cheap show, right? Does that make sense? I mean, it’s a great thing to have but at what cost?”

Walden: “I guess the man is going to take the money question…”

Some critics in the ballroom laughed, others cheered and still others had an “Ooooooo” response.

Reporter: “No, no. I said both of you, Dana. I said both of you know the money — I just said Gary also…”

Newman: “You’re just trying to get a different answer.”

Reporter: “Yes.”

(He didn’t get a much different one.)

Related stories from TheWrap:

There Was a 'Very Real' Chance 'Lethal Weapon' Was Going to Be Canceled, Fox Boss Says

Fox Orders Justin Timberlake's 'Spin the Wheel' Game Show

Rob Lowe to Host 'Mental Samurai' Competition Series on Fox

Fox Orders Nick Cannon-Hosted Celebrity Singing Competition Series 'The Masked Singer'

TCA 2018: What a ‘Broader’ HBO May Look Like and 12 More Burning Questions for Summer Press Tour

It’s the dog days of summer, which in the TV world can only mean one thing: Time for another Television Critics Association (TCA) Summer Press Tour.

The twice-annual TCA event officially begins Wednesday morning, with HBO kicking off the weeks-long festivities at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. But before it wraps on Aug. 8, broadcast, cable and a small (but growing) sampling of streaming networks will present their fall series to TV critics, serving up their casts, showrunners and a few executives for a little Q&A.

TheWrap‘s got some burning questions before we even start, however — see what we’re pondering below.

Also Read: ‘Killing Eve’ and ‘The Americans’ Lead TCA Awards Nominations

How will Amazon gain back lost ground to Hulu?
Summer 2018 will mark the first TCA executive session for Jen Salke since coming aboard to steer Amazon’s content ambitions. Although it had some brief Emmys success with “Transparent,” Amazon is still looking for its big, zeitgeisty/breakout TV show to do what “Handmaid’s Tale” has done for Hulu. “The Marvelous Ms. Maisel” did manage to score 14 Emmys nods, but the Prime Video platform could still use a big, buzzy drama.

Julia Roberts to the rescue?

Will we hear anything about “Lord of The Rings”?
Speaking of both Amazon and big, buzzy dramas: We’ve heard very little about the billion-dollar play at a TV version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s famed novels. With that other fantasy TV series on hiatus until sometime next year, Amazon could try to make some news before “Game of Thrones” sucks up all the oxygen when it returns for its last ride.

Hey, the I.P. worked out for the movies, but Peter Jackson may or may not be involved in this one. We’re still not sure — will we find out?

Also Read: 18 Things We Learned at TCA 2018: Logan Paul’s Future, Joanna Gaines Dissed, and One Dead Cat

What exactly does a “broader” HBO look like anyway?
The press tour kicks off Wednesday morning with programming head Casey Bloys’ executive session — talk about a starter’s pistol with a bang. While Bloys is always a target for a ton of questions, there will be even more intrigue than usual this year. A few weeks ago, John Stankey, head of HBO’s new parent company, WarnerMedia, said the pay cable network needed to “broaden” its programming scope. This will be the first time any HBO exec will get a chance to tell us just what that could mean… or to set the record straight.

Good luck, Case.

What is HBO launching that could be the next “Game of Thrones”?
In case you’ve been living under a rock (which was on top of another, larger rock), “Game of Thrones” is ending next year. Bloys & Co. certainly hopes it already found its next tentpole series in “Westworld,” but the mind-bending drama just embarked on another year-plus long hiatus. HBO may already have a few contenders: The network has set its first “Game of Thrones” spinoff, which will go wayyyyy back into Westeros history, and the premium pay-TV cable channel has been quickly filling out the cast for its “Watchmen” project from Damon Lindelof.

As far as the new shows HBO is presenting panels for on Wednesday, here is the rundown: “My Brilliant Friend,” “Jane Fonda in 5 Acts,” “Sharp Objects,” “Camping and Pod Save America.” Yes, “Sharp Objects” did already debut and is pretty much already out of source material, but clearly that didn’t stop “Big Little Lies.”

Also Read: Disney/Fox Begins to Take Shape: Peter Rice, Dana Walden Expected to Lead Newly Merged TV Group

What exactly is the plan for Facebook Watch?
Facebook makes its TCA debut this summer, albeit with just a lone executive session to talk about Facebook Watch, its year-old video platform. The social media giant has had a lot of stops and starts when it comes to long-form video plans, but the company is relying heavily on non-fiction programming produced by media outlets like CNN and Bloomberg, as well as a potential docu-series from soccer (sorry, futbol) superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

We know they’re not hurting for money over there, so what else you got?

Coming off “Cobra Kai’s” success, where does YouTube rank in the streaming wars?
Of all the online video streamers that are heading to TCA, the platform that started it all just might be one of the most interesting. YouTube had a surprise hit with “Karate Kid” sequel series “Cobra Kai” on its subscription service, YouTube Red, which has been rebranded as YouTube Premium. And the Google — err, Alphabet — arm is taking that “Premium” seriously, having set upcoming series from the likes of Kirsten Dunst, George Clooney and Jordan Peele.

Reference our above remark about Facebook’s savings account to see where the spending limit is. (Hint: It’s roughly just above the sky.)

Also Read: Disney Chief Bob Iger’s Response to Comcast Bowing Out of Fox Sweepstakes: ‘Holy Crap’

What the hell is Rooster Teeth?
Something called Rooster Teeth is presenting an executive session at the Summer 2018 TCA press tour. But, ah, what is it? They somehow got noted anime-fan Michael B. Jordan (who does some acting on the side, in case you haven’t heard) to lend his voice to “gen:Lock.” So, there’s that.

We’re in this learning experience together.

Will Tom Arnold have the Trump tapes?
Could Tom Arnold be the man that finally brings President Trump down? And wouldn’t that be ironic considering Arnold’s ex-wife Roseanne Barr believes she is unemployed due to her support of Trump?

In September, Arnold hosts Viceland’s “The Hunt for the Trump Tapes.” On Thursday, he and executive producer Jonathan Karsh will present the show for the first time to our merry band of TV critics. But do they have the goods on Trump, as a photo posted by Arnold in June seemed to suggest? Hopefully we’ll find out a little something in just a few short (just kidding, they’re really long) days.

Also Read: From ‘Buffy’ to ‘Battlestar Galactica,’ 17 TV Shows That Live on in Comics (Photos)

So where we at in “Peak TV,” John Landgraf?
This time in 2017, there were 342 scripted shows that had aired already, up from the 325 that had the year before. At the end up 12 months, the grand total was 455. Good lord — where are we going to be by the time Landgraf updates us in early August?

We’ll actually get much more detail from the FX chief and his team of researchers in January, but you know one of the critics in the audience is going to ask — and Landgraf will have an answer.

Who dominates TCA Awards: “Killing Eve” or “The Americans”?
In its very first crack at awards season, Sandra Oh drama “Killing Eve” leads the TCA Awards nominations with five nods. Interestingly enough, its closest competition is a show that’s ending, “The Americans,” which has four nominations.

Still, Landgraf’s FX isn’t feeling like a second-fiddle — with 10 nominations, his network leads ‘em all. Check out how the other finalists stack up here.

Also Read: Comic-Con 2018: With HBO Out, Who Is Going to Take TV’s Iron Throne?

Will Tim Allen have a better TCA than upfronts?
“Last Man Standing” star Tim Allen bombed in his debut for the Fox broadcast network, which took place in New York City during May’s upfronts. Will he do better when Fox presents his revived sitcom early next month? We sure hope so.

Either way, Allen and the former ABC gang will definitely be there, and so should a trailer. For now, we’ve got this teaser to tide us over.

How much of “The Conners” will we see?
We ordinarily get trailers for fall shows, but this whole last-minute “Conners” thing could make that a bit tricky on ABC. We’ll see what we’ll see soon enough. Either way, you better believe Channing Dungey is practicing her Roseanne Barr responses in the mirror every morning until it’s ABC executive session time.

Seeing as how Disney-ABC is the second-to-last day of tour, expect the word “Roseanne” to be uttered on or around the ballroom stage roughly 375 times by Dungey’s 1-on-100 interview.

Also Read: Mark Millar’s First Slate of Netflix TV Series and Films Includes Superheroes – and Reincarnated Jesus

Which execs will answer fewer questions about Disney-Fox: Disney or Fox?
Both Disney and Fox’s TCA days will come after Disney and Fox shareholders officially vote on the deal. Considering last week’s news that Peter Rice and Dana Walden could be coming over to Disney in the acquisition, executives may have to navigate some potential minefields from pesky reporters.

It’ll either be awkward or informative — no middle ground. Perhaps that is the perfect summation for TCA.

Related stories from TheWrap:

SAG-AFTRA Votes to Authorize Strike Over TV Animation

Los Angeles-Based TV Productions Suffer Steep Declines in Second Quarter

‘Batwoman’ TV Series From Greg Berlanti in the Works at The CW

It’s the dog days of summer, which in the TV world can only mean one thing: Time for another Television Critics Association (TCA) Summer Press Tour.

The twice-annual TCA event officially begins Wednesday morning, with HBO kicking off the weeks-long festivities at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. But before it wraps on Aug. 8, broadcast, cable and a small (but growing) sampling of streaming networks will present their fall series to TV critics, serving up their casts, showrunners and a few executives for a little Q&A.

TheWrap‘s got some burning questions before we even start, however — see what we’re pondering below.

How will Amazon gain back lost ground to Hulu?
Summer 2018 will mark the first TCA executive session for Jen Salke since coming aboard to steer Amazon’s content ambitions. Although it had some brief Emmys success with “Transparent,” Amazon is still looking for its big, zeitgeisty/breakout TV show to do what “Handmaid’s Tale” has done for Hulu. “The Marvelous Ms. Maisel” did manage to score 14 Emmys nods, but the Prime Video platform could still use a big, buzzy drama.

Julia Roberts to the rescue?

Will we hear anything about “Lord of The Rings”?
Speaking of both Amazon and big, buzzy dramas: We’ve heard very little about the billion-dollar play at a TV version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s famed novels. With that other fantasy TV series on hiatus until sometime next year, Amazon could try to make some news before “Game of Thrones” sucks up all the oxygen when it returns for its last ride.

Hey, the I.P. worked out for the movies, but Peter Jackson may or may not be involved in this one. We’re still not sure — will we find out?

What exactly does a “broader” HBO look like anyway?
The press tour kicks off Wednesday morning with programming head Casey Bloys’ executive session — talk about a starter’s pistol with a bang. While Bloys is always a target for a ton of questions, there will be even more intrigue than usual this year. A few weeks ago, John Stankey, head of HBO’s new parent company, WarnerMedia, said the pay cable network needed to “broaden” its programming scope. This will be the first time any HBO exec will get a chance to tell us just what that could mean… or to set the record straight.

Good luck, Case.

What is HBO launching that could be the next “Game of Thrones”?
In case you’ve been living under a rock (which was on top of another, larger rock), “Game of Thrones” is ending next year. Bloys & Co. certainly hopes it already found its next tentpole series in “Westworld,” but the mind-bending drama just embarked on another year-plus long hiatus. HBO may already have a few contenders: The network has set its first “Game of Thrones” spinoff, which will go wayyyyy back into Westeros history, and the premium pay-TV cable channel has been quickly filling out the cast for its “Watchmen” project from Damon Lindelof.

As far as the new shows HBO is presenting panels for on Wednesday, here is the rundown: “My Brilliant Friend,” “Jane Fonda in 5 Acts,” “Sharp Objects,” “Camping and Pod Save America.” Yes, “Sharp Objects” did already debut and is pretty much already out of source material, but clearly that didn’t stop “Big Little Lies.”

What exactly is the plan for Facebook Watch?
Facebook makes its TCA debut this summer, albeit with just a lone executive session to talk about Facebook Watch, its year-old video platform. The social media giant has had a lot of stops and starts when it comes to long-form video plans, but the company is relying heavily on non-fiction programming produced by media outlets like CNN and Bloomberg, as well as a potential docu-series from soccer (sorry, futbol) superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

We know they’re not hurting for money over there, so what else you got?

Coming off “Cobra Kai’s” success, where does YouTube rank in the streaming wars?
Of all the online video streamers that are heading to TCA, the platform that started it all just might be one of the most interesting. YouTube had a surprise hit with “Karate Kid” sequel series “Cobra Kai” on its subscription service, YouTube Red, which has been rebranded as YouTube Premium. And the Google — err, Alphabet — arm is taking that “Premium” seriously, having set upcoming series from the likes of Kirsten Dunst, George Clooney and Jordan Peele.

Reference our above remark about Facebook’s savings account to see where the spending limit is. (Hint: It’s roughly just above the sky.)

What the hell is Rooster Teeth?
Something called Rooster Teeth is presenting an executive session at the Summer 2018 TCA press tour. But, ah, what is it? They somehow got noted anime-fan Michael B. Jordan (who does some acting on the side, in case you haven’t heard) to lend his voice to “gen:Lock.” So, there’s that.

We’re in this learning experience together.

Will Tom Arnold have the Trump tapes?
Could Tom Arnold be the man that finally brings President Trump down? And wouldn’t that be ironic considering Arnold’s ex-wife Roseanne Barr believes she is unemployed due to her support of Trump?

In September, Arnold hosts Viceland’s “The Hunt for the Trump Tapes.” On Thursday, he and executive producer Jonathan Karsh will present the show for the first time to our merry band of TV critics. But do they have the goods on Trump, as a photo posted by Arnold in June seemed to suggest? Hopefully we’ll find out a little something in just a few short (just kidding, they’re really long) days.

So where we at in “Peak TV,” John Landgraf?
This time in 2017, there were 342 scripted shows that had aired already, up from the 325 that had the year before. At the end up 12 months, the grand total was 455. Good lord — where are we going to be by the time Landgraf updates us in early August?

We’ll actually get much more detail from the FX chief and his team of researchers in January, but you know one of the critics in the audience is going to ask — and Landgraf will have an answer.

Who dominates TCA Awards: “Killing Eve” or “The Americans”?
In its very first crack at awards season, Sandra Oh drama “Killing Eve” leads the TCA Awards nominations with five nods. Interestingly enough, its closest competition is a show that’s ending, “The Americans,” which has four nominations.

Still, Landgraf’s FX isn’t feeling like a second-fiddle — with 10 nominations, his network leads ‘em all. Check out how the other finalists stack up here.

Will Tim Allen have a better TCA than upfronts?
“Last Man Standing” star Tim Allen bombed in his debut for the Fox broadcast network, which took place in New York City during May’s upfronts. Will he do better when Fox presents his revived sitcom early next month? We sure hope so.

Either way, Allen and the former ABC gang will definitely be there, and so should a trailer. For now, we’ve got this teaser to tide us over.

How much of “The Conners” will we see?
We ordinarily get trailers for fall shows, but this whole last-minute “Conners” thing could make that a bit tricky on ABC. We’ll see what we’ll see soon enough. Either way, you better believe Channing Dungey is practicing her Roseanne Barr responses in the mirror every morning until it’s ABC executive session time.

Seeing as how Disney-ABC is the second-to-last day of tour, expect the word “Roseanne” to be uttered on or around the ballroom stage roughly 375 times by Dungey’s 1-on-100 interview.

Which execs will answer fewer questions about Disney-Fox: Disney or Fox?
Both Disney and Fox’s TCA days will come after Disney and Fox shareholders officially vote on the deal. Considering last week’s news that Peter Rice and Dana Walden could be coming over to Disney in the acquisition, executives may have to navigate some potential minefields from pesky reporters.

It’ll either be awkward or informative — no middle ground. Perhaps that is the perfect summation for TCA.

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Disney/Fox Begins to Take Shape: Peter Rice, Dana Walden Expected to Lead Newly Merged TV Group

The look of a Disney-fied Fox is beginning to come into focus.

21st Century Fox president Peter Rice and Fox Television Group chairman Dana Walden are expected to move to senior posts overseeing TV operations at Disney/ABC Television Group, amid Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets, an individual with knowledge of internal talks tells TheWrap.

Meanwhile current DATG boss Ben Sherwood is expected to transition to a different very senior position at the company under Disney CEO Bob Iger, although the specifics of that role are still unclear.

Also Read: Disney Chief Bob Iger’s Response to Comcast Bowing Out of Fox Sweepstakes: ‘Holy Crap’

However, TheWrap has learned news of the leadership shakeup is largely speculative and based on rumors at this point.

On Thursday, rival bidder Comcast bowed out of the 21st Century Fox sweepstakes, choosing instead to focus on acquiring British pay-TV giant Sky Plc. Disney and Fox had initially agreed to a $54.2 billion deal in December before Comcast came in with an “unsolicited” offer of $65 billion in June. Disney then sweetened its prior bid to $71.3 billion, which Fox again accepted over Comcast.

Fox has set a July 27 shareholder meeting to vote on the Disney deal. If either Comcast’s or Fox’s acquisition of Sky is not completed by then, Disney would be forced to make a minimum bid of £14 a share for the 61 percent of Sky that Fox doesn’t own. That would be less than the £14.75 per share that Comcast offered last week.

Disney and Fox could not be reached for comment by TheWrap for this story.

The look of a Disney-fied Fox is beginning to come into focus.

21st Century Fox president Peter Rice and Fox Television Group chairman Dana Walden are expected to move to senior posts overseeing TV operations at Disney/ABC Television Group, amid Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets, an individual with knowledge of internal talks tells TheWrap.

Meanwhile current DATG boss Ben Sherwood is expected to transition to a different very senior position at the company under Disney CEO Bob Iger, although the specifics of that role are still unclear.

However, TheWrap has learned news of the leadership shakeup is largely speculative and based on rumors at this point.

On Thursday, rival bidder Comcast bowed out of the 21st Century Fox sweepstakes, choosing instead to focus on acquiring British pay-TV giant Sky Plc. Disney and Fox had initially agreed to a $54.2 billion deal in December before Comcast came in with an “unsolicited” offer of $65 billion in June. Disney then sweetened its prior bid to $71.3 billion, which Fox again accepted over Comcast.

Fox has set a July 27 shareholder meeting to vote on the Disney deal. If either Comcast’s or Fox’s acquisition of Sky is not completed by then, Disney would be forced to make a minimum bid of £14 a share for the 61 percent of Sky that Fox doesn’t own. That would be less than the £14.75 per share that Comcast offered last week.

Disney and Fox could not be reached for comment by TheWrap for this story.

Disney/ABC TV Group Shakeup: Fox’s Peter Rice and Dana Walden Poised to Lead, Ben Sherwood Eyes New Role

As it moves closer to completing its acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney is preparing to overhaul the leadership of Disney/ABC Television Group. 21st Century Fox president Peter Rice and Fox Television Group chairman Dana Walden are slated t…

As it moves closer to completing its acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney is preparing to overhaul the leadership of Disney/ABC Television Group. 21st Century Fox president Peter Rice and Fox Television Group chairman Dana Walden are slated to relocate to Disney in senior posts overseeing TV operations. Current Disney/ABC TV Group president Ben […]

Disney-Fox: Post-Merger Executive Speculation Heats Up As Comcast Exits With Focus On Peter Rice & Dana Walden

The big bidding war for Fox ended this morning when Comcast pulled out, handing the prized 21st Century Fox assets to Disney. With the Disney-Fox deal already assured of regulatory approval with the divesting of the Fox regional sports networks and jus…

The big bidding war for Fox ended this morning when Comcast pulled out, handing the prized 21st Century Fox assets to Disney. With the Disney-Fox deal already assured of regulatory approval with the divesting of the Fox regional sports networks and just days from a formal Fox shareholders vote on July 27, the attention is returning to what a combined Disney-Fox entity would look like. As Disney CEO Bob Iger said this morning, following the news of Comcast’s…

Fox’s Dana Walden Joins Live Nation Entertainment Board

Fox Television Group chairman-CEO Dana Walden has been elected to the board of directors at Live Nation Entertainment. Walden joins the 12-member panel as the Live Nation is stepping up its TV production activity under the Live Nation Productions banne…

Fox Television Group chairman-CEO Dana Walden has been elected to the board of directors at Live Nation Entertainment. Walden joins the 12-member panel as the Live Nation is stepping up its TV production activity under the Live Nation Productions banner. The company is developing its first docu-series, based on the book “From Cradle to Stage” […]

Fox’s Dana Walden, Gary Newman Near 1-Year Extension Deal

Gary Newman and Dana Walden are near a one-year deal to remain at Fox. The Fox Television Group CEOs are in the final stages of negotiations with the company and have agreed in principle to a contract extension that will keep them on as heads of Fox Br…

Gary Newman and Dana Walden are near a one-year deal to remain at Fox. The Fox Television Group CEOs are in the final stages of negotiations with the company and have agreed in principle to a contract extension that will keep them on as heads of Fox Broadcasting Company and 20th Century Fox Television until […]

Dana Walden, Gary Newman Ink 1-Year Fox Contract Extension as Disney Sale Looms

The executives, who are in advanced talks for the extension, have already started to pivot the broadcast network into a home for broad-skewing procedurals and multicamera comedies.read more


The executives, who are in advanced talks for the extension, have already started to pivot the broadcast network into a home for broad-skewing procedurals and multicamera comedies.

read more

Fox Upfront: 7 Takeaways From Beacon Theatre Presentation to Advertisers

With Fox’s presentation to advertisers in the books, we’re officially done with Day 1 of the 2018 broadcast upfronts week.

Fox opened its Beacon Theatre show with ad sales chief Joe Marchese and closed with “The Four” judge Meghan Trainor — though there was plenty in-between. Oh yeah, and along the way, the broadcast net debuted trailers for new fall series “The Cool Kids,”  “Rel,” and “Proven Innocent.”

Read on below for 7 things we observed from 74th and Broadway.

Also Read: NBC Upfront: 9 Things Scene and Heard at Big Radio City Music Hall Sales Pitch

Neil DeGrasse Tyson: Genius at V.O.
The voice in the sky prompting us to take our seats and reminding attendees to keep their ticket stub for the after-party was none other than “Cosmos” host Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

We could listen to smooth astrophysicist read the ingredients off our (non FDA-approved) multivitamin label. “Cosmos” fans will have to wait until midseason to learn more from NDT about outer space, though.

Also Read: Fox Brass on Clayne Crawford’s ‘Lethal Weapon’ Firing: ‘This Was Not Our Choice’

Who Invited the Truck?
Much of (or maybe all of) the press was seated in the first mezzanine, stage left. Joining us, apparently, was a large truck honking its horn. The beep-fest didn’t last long, but it was an easy distraction during Joe Marchese’s ad sales pitch. It’s not you, Joe — it’s the subject matter.

A little later, some sort of siren interrupted co-CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman. Might be time for some sound-proofing since, you know, this is a theater.

Also Read: Why Tim Allen Can Thank ‘Roseanne’ for Fox’s ‘Last Man Standing’ Revival

Joe Don’t Dance
The aforementioned Marchese can charm media buyers into opening their wallets — but what dude can’t do is dance. Or at least, he won’t. (Actually, it’s definitely both.)

Lord knows Jamie Foxx tried to make Marchese move on Monday, but the mortified revenue raiser (playfully) wanted nothing to do with it. Don’t beat shocked if Foxx’s “Beat Shazam” isn’t back for the 2019-20 season.

Also Read: Jennifer Love Hewitt Joins ‘9-1-1’ for Season 2 After Connie Britton Exit

Homer Simpson Kills, Tim Allen (Mostly) Bombs

Both Homer Simpson and Tim Allen took the stage and the last man standing was actually the cartoon. Walden and Gary Newman asked the star of the longest-running scripted series in network history and the lead of the network’s recently-announced revival of the ABC sitcom “Last Man Standing,” to say a few words. While Homer crushed it with some new predictions for the future (“The Simpsons have been “eerily” accurate before), Allen’s monologue fell flat (the mayonnaise in the green room was apparently questionable). Well, one is animated to begin with.

Also Read: Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to Call Fox’s Thursday Night Football

Hey, at Least Joe Buck Was Funny
A lot of people (including the woman next to me, who was rather vocal about it) hate Fox Sports announcer Joe Buck. This reporter doesn’t get it — the dude is prepared, talented and funny.

The 49-year-old new father lacks one thing, though — a cell phone. Buck didn’t get his iPhone X back from the audience after passing it around for attendees to see pictures of his twins.

There’s an Apple Store on 59th and 5th, Joe.

Also Read: Fox Brass on Clayne Crawford’s ‘Lethal Weapon’ Firing: ‘This Was Not Our Choice’

Bald Eagle
“NFL on Fox” personality Terry Bradshaw apparently bought a bronze eagle somewhere in New York City today, and he wouldn’t shut up about it during Fox Sports’ stage time. Apparently, he’s gonna put the winged acquisition in his Florida home’s foyer.

There was plenty more to that story, though none of it made sense or mattered. It was all pretty standard Bradshaw stuff.

Also Read: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’: the Squad Freaks Out Over NBC Revival – ‘NINE NINE!’

Diddy’s New to This Whole Thing
Monday afternoon marked Diddy’s first major upfront, and we think someone didn’t show up to rehearsal.

The former Puff Daddy flubbed lines, swallowed jokes, and awkwardly tried to get Walden to dance when it was time to exit stage left. Promising she’d take him up on it next year (at Fox’s or ABC’s upfront, Dana?), the businesswoman had to boot the Bad Boy offstage after he overstayed his welcome.

Also Read: Fox’s Fall Schedule: ‘Last Man Standing’ Is Still a Friday Show, ‘9-1-1’ Shifts to Monday

And now it’s time to party in Central Park. If you’ll excuse us, we’ll be back tomorrow for ABC.

Read our recap of NBC’s Monday morning presentation here.

Jenny Maas contributed to this report.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Fox’s Fall Schedule: ‘Last Man Standing’ Is Still a Friday Show, ‘9-1-1’ Shifts to Monday

‘Gotham’ Renewed by Fox for Fifth and Final Season

‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Saved by NBC 1 Day After Fox Cancellation

With Fox’s presentation to advertisers in the books, we’re officially done with Day 1 of the 2018 broadcast upfronts week.

Fox opened its Beacon Theatre show with ad sales chief Joe Marchese and closed with “The Four” judge Meghan Trainor — though there was plenty in-between. Oh yeah, and along the way, the broadcast net debuted trailers for new fall series “The Cool Kids,”  “Rel,” and “Proven Innocent.”

Read on below for 7 things we observed from 74th and Broadway.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson: Genius at V.O.
The voice in the sky prompting us to take our seats and reminding attendees to keep their ticket stub for the after-party was none other than “Cosmos” host Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

We could listen to smooth astrophysicist read the ingredients off our (non FDA-approved) multivitamin label. “Cosmos” fans will have to wait until midseason to learn more from NDT about outer space, though.

Who Invited the Truck?
Much of (or maybe all of) the press was seated in the first mezzanine, stage left. Joining us, apparently, was a large truck honking its horn. The beep-fest didn’t last long, but it was an easy distraction during Joe Marchese’s ad sales pitch. It’s not you, Joe — it’s the subject matter.

A little later, some sort of siren interrupted co-CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman. Might be time for some sound-proofing since, you know, this is a theater.

Joe Don’t Dance
The aforementioned Marchese can charm media buyers into opening their wallets — but what dude can’t do is dance. Or at least, he won’t. (Actually, it’s definitely both.)

Lord knows Jamie Foxx tried to make Marchese move on Monday, but the mortified revenue raiser (playfully) wanted nothing to do with it. Don’t beat shocked if Foxx’s “Beat Shazam” isn’t back for the 2019-20 season.

Homer Simpson Kills, Tim Allen (Mostly) Bombs

Both Homer Simpson and Tim Allen took the stage and the last man standing was actually the cartoon. Walden and Gary Newman asked the star of the longest-running scripted series in network history and the lead of the network’s recently-announced revival of the ABC sitcom “Last Man Standing,” to say a few words. While Homer crushed it with some new predictions for the future (“The Simpsons have been “eerily” accurate before), Allen’s monologue fell flat (the mayonnaise in the green room was apparently questionable). Well, one is animated to begin with.

Hey, at Least Joe Buck Was Funny
A lot of people (including the woman next to me, who was rather vocal about it) hate Fox Sports announcer Joe Buck. This reporter doesn’t get it — the dude is prepared, talented and funny.

The 49-year-old new father lacks one thing, though — a cell phone. Buck didn’t get his iPhone X back from the audience after passing it around for attendees to see pictures of his twins.

There’s an Apple Store on 59th and 5th, Joe.

Bald Eagle
“NFL on Fox” personality Terry Bradshaw apparently bought a bronze eagle somewhere in New York City today, and he wouldn’t shut up about it during Fox Sports’ stage time. Apparently, he’s gonna put the winged acquisition in his Florida home’s foyer.

There was plenty more to that story, though none of it made sense or mattered. It was all pretty standard Bradshaw stuff.

Diddy’s New to This Whole Thing
Monday afternoon marked Diddy’s first major upfront, and we think someone didn’t show up to rehearsal.

The former Puff Daddy flubbed lines, swallowed jokes, and awkwardly tried to get Walden to dance when it was time to exit stage left. Promising she’d take him up on it next year (at Fox’s or ABC’s upfront, Dana?), the businesswoman had to boot the Bad Boy offstage after he overstayed his welcome.

And now it’s time to party in Central Park. If you’ll excuse us, we’ll be back tomorrow for ABC.

Read our recap of NBC’s Monday morning presentation here.

Jenny Maas contributed to this report.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Fox's Fall Schedule: 'Last Man Standing' Is Still a Friday Show, '9-1-1' Shifts to Monday

'Gotham' Renewed by Fox for Fifth and Final Season

'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Saved by NBC 1 Day After Fox Cancellation

Fox Charts Its Merged Future With Vision Of Sports-Fueled, Ad-Streamlined Offering – Upfronts

Fox execs offered ad buyers a vision of the “New Fox” future, walking them through its new “JAZ” commercial pods and a fall lineup they expect will draw 82% live viewing thanks to the addition of Thursday Night Football.
Disney …

Fox execs offered ad buyers a vision of the “New Fox” future, walking them through its new “JAZ” commercial pods and a fall lineup they expect will draw 82% live viewing thanks to the addition of Thursday Night Football. Disney has announced its plan to acquire most of 21st Century Fox (though Comcast could also enter the fray), except for the Fox broadcast network, local stations and Fox News, a portfolio the company calls “New Fox.” “This is an opportunity to chart a…

Fox Brass on Clayne Crawford’s ‘Lethal Weapon’ Firing: ‘This Was Not Our Choice’

Fox execs are well aware that “Lethal Weapon” recasting shakeup has fans wondering what will happen now that Martin Riggs is out for Season 3, following actor Clayne Crawford’s incidents of bad behavior on the set of the action drama.

And while they are excited to introduce viewers to the new character his replacement, Seann William Scott, will play, Dana Walden and Gary Newman, Chairmen and CEOs, Fox Television Group say Crawford’s firing wasn’t their decision.

“This was not our choice, you know,” Walden said of the casting shakeup during a conference call with press ahead of the network’s upfront presentation in New York City Monday. “Yes, it sounds very easy going into a third season on a show that we like a lot,” she added. “But, ultimately, our partners at Warner Bros. come to us about three weeks ago to tell us that they could not deliver ‘Lethal Weapon’ as we’ve known it before, that there were some real challenges in the cast. They thought long and hard about it. I know that was not their first choice.”

Also Read: Clayne Crawford Responds to ‘Lethal Weapon’ Firing with Glum Photo

“But that ultimately these were the circumstances that they could offer us the show,” Walden continued. “And we thought about it a lot and we talked about a lot of different names. And ultimately, when they came back with Seann, and a fantastic showrunner, and a big TV star in Damon [Wayans], and a great cast, and a storytelling engine that works, and a fanbase that is very passionate about the show, I think we ultimately made the right choice and we are prepared to support it from a marketing point of view to educate viewers and fans of the show about a new dynamic, but a good one. And a lot of a show that people love, which is still intact.”

Michael Thorn, president of entertainment at Fox Broadcasting Company, announced “Lethal Weapon”s renewal Sunday, along with the reveal that Scott will be joining the cast next season as a new character who folds into a partnership with Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans).

A spokesperson for Warner Bros. Television added that the studio had decided not to renew Crawford’s contract following incidents of “bad behavior” on the Fox action drama’s set, for which he apologized. The announcement of Crawford’s ousting comes less than a week after news broke the studio was exploring recasting his part.

Also Read: Fox’s Fall Schedule: ‘Last Man Standing’ Is Still a Friday Show, ‘9-1-1’ Shifts to Monday

“You know, look, to some degree we are certainly going to want our audience to know there is a new character in the show,” Newman said during the call, of how they plan to promote Scott ahead of Season 3. “You know, 90 percent of that cast is coming back. And we have tremendous strength in that case. The Murtaugh family, I think, is a real focal point for the show and is one of the appeals of ‘Lethal Weapon.’”

“So we will certainly be making sure that we let the audience know there is something new and we hearten that a little bit to other shows that have had unanticipated casting changes,” Newman said, pointing to the casting shakeup “NYPD Blue” saw in Season 2.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Why Tim Allen Can Thank ‘Roseanne’ for Fox’s ‘Last Man Standing’ Revival

Fox’s Fall Schedule: ‘Last Man Standing’ Is Still a Friday Show, ‘9-1-1’ Shifts to Monday

Clayne Crawford Responds to ‘Lethal Weapon’ Firing with Glum Photo

Fox’s ‘Lethal Weapon’ Renewed Without Clayne Crawford; Seann William Scott to Star

Fox execs are well aware that “Lethal Weapon” recasting shakeup has fans wondering what will happen now that Martin Riggs is out for Season 3, following actor Clayne Crawford’s incidents of bad behavior on the set of the action drama.

And while they are excited to introduce viewers to the new character his replacement, Seann William Scott, will play, Dana Walden and Gary Newman, Chairmen and CEOs, Fox Television Group say Crawford’s firing wasn’t their decision.

“This was not our choice, you know,” Walden said of the casting shakeup during a conference call with press ahead of the network’s upfront presentation in New York City Monday. “Yes, it sounds very easy going into a third season on a show that we like a lot,” she added. “But, ultimately, our partners at Warner Bros. come to us about three weeks ago to tell us that they could not deliver ‘Lethal Weapon’ as we’ve known it before, that there were some real challenges in the cast. They thought long and hard about it. I know that was not their first choice.”

“But that ultimately these were the circumstances that they could offer us the show,” Walden continued. “And we thought about it a lot and we talked about a lot of different names. And ultimately, when they came back with Seann, and a fantastic showrunner, and a big TV star in Damon [Wayans], and a great cast, and a storytelling engine that works, and a fanbase that is very passionate about the show, I think we ultimately made the right choice and we are prepared to support it from a marketing point of view to educate viewers and fans of the show about a new dynamic, but a good one. And a lot of a show that people love, which is still intact.”

Michael Thorn, president of entertainment at Fox Broadcasting Company, announced “Lethal Weapon”s renewal Sunday, along with the reveal that Scott will be joining the cast next season as a new character who folds into a partnership with Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans).

A spokesperson for Warner Bros. Television added that the studio had decided not to renew Crawford’s contract following incidents of “bad behavior” on the Fox action drama’s set, for which he apologized. The announcement of Crawford’s ousting comes less than a week after news broke the studio was exploring recasting his part.

“You know, look, to some degree we are certainly going to want our audience to know there is a new character in the show,” Newman said during the call, of how they plan to promote Scott ahead of Season 3. “You know, 90 percent of that cast is coming back. And we have tremendous strength in that case. The Murtaugh family, I think, is a real focal point for the show and is one of the appeals of ‘Lethal Weapon.'”

“So we will certainly be making sure that we let the audience know there is something new and we hearten that a little bit to other shows that have had unanticipated casting changes,” Newman said, pointing to the casting shakeup “NYPD Blue” saw in Season 2.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Why Tim Allen Can Thank 'Roseanne' for Fox's 'Last Man Standing' Revival

Fox's Fall Schedule: 'Last Man Standing' Is Still a Friday Show, '9-1-1' Shifts to Monday

Clayne Crawford Responds to 'Lethal Weapon' Firing with Glum Photo

Fox's 'Lethal Weapon' Renewed Without Clayne Crawford; Seann William Scott to Star