German Films Appoints MD & Ups Distribution Funding, FranceTV Publicité Hires Fox Exec — Global Briefs

German industry agency German Films, whose Managing Director Mariette Rissenbeek is leaving to become the co-head of the Berlin Film Festival, has appointed producer Simone Baumann to the role. The independent producer, whose credits include documentar…

German industry agency German Films, whose Managing Director Mariette Rissenbeek is leaving to become the co-head of the Berlin Film Festival, has appointed producer Simone Baumann to the role. The independent producer, whose credits include documentaries Under The Sun and Khodorkovsky, has been representative of German Films in Central and Eastern Europe since 2003. She will assume the role from February 1, 2019 and will be based in Munich. The promotion body’s board met…

Fox Networks Group And AT&T Renew Cross-Platform Distribution Deal

AT&T and Fox Networks Group have renewed a multi-year deal to continue distribution of Fox programming across AT&T’s video platforms DirecTV, DirecTV Now and AT&T U-verse.
The renewal includes Fox-owned local broadcast stations in 17 cities…

AT&T and Fox Networks Group have renewed a multi-year deal to continue distribution of Fox programming across AT&T's video platforms DirecTV, DirecTV Now and AT&T U-verse. The renewal includes Fox-owned local broadcast stations in 17 cities and the 22 Fox-owned regional sports networks. It also includes FS1, FS2, FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, BabyTV, and Spanish-language services Fox Deportes, Nat Geo Mundo and Fox Life, as well as the Fox…

Teresa Teng, Legendary Singer, Series in the Works at Fox Asia

Teresa Teng, one of the most famous Chinese-language singers from the 1970s and 1980s is to be the subject of “Memory Eclipse.” The anthology series is an expansion of the original productions slate at Fox Networks Group in Asia. The five-part series i…

Teresa Teng, one of the most famous Chinese-language singers from the 1970s and 1980s is to be the subject of “Memory Eclipse.” The anthology series is an expansion of the original productions slate at Fox Networks Group in Asia. The five-part series is produced by former Media Asia executive and “Infernal Affairs” producer John Chong. […]

Greg Kinnear in Talks to Star in Canal Plus, Fox Adaptation of ‘War of the Worlds’

Greg Kinnear is in talks to star in “War of the Worlds” from Canal Plus and Fox’s Europe and Africa arm. Sources said Kinnear could take the lead role in the series adaptation of the H.G. Wells’ alien invasion classic. Kinnear is understood to have see…

Greg Kinnear is in talks to star in “War of the Worlds” from Canal Plus and Fox’s Europe and Africa arm. Sources said Kinnear could take the lead role in the series adaptation of the H.G. Wells’ alien invasion classic. Kinnear is understood to have seen a script but not signed on for the series […]

Greg Kinnear In Talks To Star In Canal+ & Fox Networks Group’s ‘War Of The Worlds’ Remake

EXCLUSIVE: Greg Kinnear is in talks to star in Fox Networks Group’s European remake of War of the Worlds.
I hear that the actor, who was most recently in the sixth season of Netflix’s House of Cards, has been circling the script, which was written by M…

EXCLUSIVE: Greg Kinnear is in talks to star in Fox Networks Group's European remake of War of the Worlds. I hear that the actor, who was most recently in the sixth season of Netflix's House of Cards, has been circling the script, which was written by Misfits' Howard Overman, but that a deal has not yet been struck. Kinnear would be a big get for the ambitious project, which is Fox Networks Group Europe and Africa's second original commission following Deep State, and is…

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.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

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

‘Aladdin’ Producers Set ‘Lilo & Stitch’ Live-Action Remake at Disney

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

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.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

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

'Aladdin' Producers Set 'Lilo & Stitch' Live-Action Remake at Disney

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

Comcast And Fox Settle Big Ten Network Carriage Dispute As College Football Season Nears Kickoff

Comcast and the Fox Networks Group have settled a high-profile carriage dispute over the Big Ten Network ahead of the September 1 end of the current contract and on the eve of college football season.
Under the new deal, Comcast will continue carrying …

Comcast and the Fox Networks Group have settled a high-profile carriage dispute over the Big Ten Network ahead of the September 1 end of the current contract and on the eve of college football season. Under the new deal, Comcast will continue carrying the network and the companies also reached an agreement for Comcast to continue carrying all of the Big Ten games on FS1. Earlier this summer, Fox threw a major grenade over the wall during the conference’s annual media day…

‘War of the Worlds’ Series Coming From Fox Europe and Africa, Canal+ 

French pay-TV powerhouse Canal+ and Fox’s Europe and Africa arm are joining forces on a series adaptation of H.G. Wells’ classic novel “The War of the Worlds.” The show will follow the classic alien invasion story and place the action in the present da…

French pay-TV powerhouse Canal+ and Fox’s Europe and Africa arm are joining forces on a series adaptation of H.G. Wells’ classic novel “The War of the Worlds.” The show will follow the classic alien invasion story and place the action in the present day. Running to eight-parts, the drama will start shooting this fall, with […]

Fox Networks Group Names General Manager for Germany

Fox’s international channels division has upped Roman Karz to general manager for Germany. In the newly-created role he will oversee deals for a portfolio of channels including Fox, National Geographic, and BabyTV in the huge German market. His remit a…

Fox’s international channels division has upped Roman Karz to general manager for Germany. In the newly-created role he will oversee deals for a portfolio of channels including Fox, National Geographic, and BabyTV in the huge German market. His remit also covers Fox Networks Group channels in Austria and Switzerland. Karz has been elevated from deputy […]

Fox’s Newest Dramas Will Run During Commercial Breaks (EXCLUSIVE)

Fox Networks Group hopes to make its commercial breaks as dramatic as the action in some of its best-known series, like “9-1-1,” “American Horror Story” or “Lethal Weapon.” Starting this fall, Fox outlets like Fox Broadcasting, FX, Nat Geo and their di…

Fox Networks Group hopes to make its commercial breaks as dramatic as the action in some of its best-known series, like “9-1-1,” “American Horror Story” or “Lethal Weapon.” Starting this fall, Fox outlets like Fox Broadcasting, FX, Nat Geo and their digital counterparts will begin running inspirational videos that tell stories about people who have […]

Fox’s Big Plans to Trim TV Ads Continue to Evolve (EXCLUSIVE)

Everyone agrees TV viewers want to see fewer TV commercials. But trying to cut back on these 30-second staples isn’t as easy as one might think. Twenty-First Century Fox continues to work through efforts to run fewer commercials in certain parts …

Everyone agrees TV viewers want to see fewer TV commercials. But trying to cut back on these 30-second staples isn’t as easy as one might think. Twenty-First Century Fox continues to work through efforts to run fewer commercials in certain parts of its TV networks’ schedules. A plan to cut back as much as 40% […]

Fox Networks Group Restructures Africa Executive Team (EXCLUSIVE)

Fox Networks Group Europe and Africa has announced a new executive team structure in Africa as part of its effort to widen its presence on the continent. Vasilis Iliopoulos (pictured, right) will expand his role to become senior vice president for FNG …

Fox Networks Group Europe and Africa has announced a new executive team structure in Africa as part of its effort to widen its presence on the continent. Vasilis Iliopoulos (pictured, right) will expand his role to become senior vice president for FNG Africa, while maintaining his position as general manager of Fox Networks Greece. Evert […]

Fox Networks Group Renews Spy Thriller ‘Deep State’ For Second Season Ahead Of Debut

Deep State, the Mark Strong-fronted spy thriller, has been renewed for a second season ahead of its debut bow. Fox Networks Group (FNG) Europe & Africa has ordered a second run of eight episodes as the show kicks off this evening, April 5 in 50 markets across the region.
Co-created, directed and written by Matthew Parkhill (RogueDeep State is described as a grounded, visceral thriller, moving between the deeply personal story of a family man fighting to escape his past…

Deep State, the Mark Strong-fronted spy thriller, has been renewed for a second season ahead of its debut bow. Fox Networks Group (FNG) Europe & Africa has ordered a second run of eight episodes as the show kicks off this evening, April 5 in 50 markets across the region. Co-created, directed and written by Matthew Parkhill (RogueDeep State is described as a grounded, visceral thriller, moving between the deeply personal story of a family man fighting to escape his past…

Fox Networks Group Renews Mark Strong, Joe Dempsie Espionage Drama ‘Deep State’

Fox Networks Group has renewed “Deep State,” its first original drama out of Europe and Africa. On the day the eight-part series bows on the Fox channel in 50 African and European markets, FNG said a second season has been greenlit. Fox Networks Groups Content Distribution sells the show and has sealed deals with Epix […]

Fox Networks Group has renewed “Deep State,” its first original drama out of Europe and Africa. On the day the eight-part series bows on the Fox channel in 50 African and European markets, FNG said a second season has been greenlit. Fox Networks Groups Content Distribution sells the show and has sealed deals with Epix […]

FilMart: Fox Networks and MM2 Asia to Unveil Chinese-Language Six Pack

Fox Networks Group Asia is to expand its production of original series and feature films. It will Monday announce plans to co-produce six Chinese language-films in co-operation with Singapore mini-conglomerate mm2 Entertainment. The channels group will have the exclusive pay-TV broadcast and digital rights in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Southeast Asia, North America, Australia to […]

Fox Networks Group Asia is to expand its production of original series and feature films. It will Monday announce plans to co-produce six Chinese language-films in co-operation with Singapore mini-conglomerate mm2 Entertainment. The channels group will have the exclusive pay-TV broadcast and digital rights in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Southeast Asia, North America, Australia to […]

Fox Wants to Drop Ad Time to Just 2 Minutes Per Hour by 2020

Fox wants to shrink the ad time on its channels to just two minutes per hour by 2020, the company told media buyers and advertisers last week.

“The two minutes per hour is a real target for Fox, and also our challenge for the industry,” Ed Davis, chief product officer for ad sales at Fox Networks Group, told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. “Creating a sustainable model for ad-supported storytelling will require us all to move.”

“We did reduce ad time by 75 percent in FX Originals on-demand last year, and saw great effectiveness in brand lift,” he added. “We are tuning our approach with the new targeting and ad products so we can scale more widely.”

Also Read: NBCUniversal to Cut Number of Commercials Across All Networks by 20 Percent

Fox Networks Group (FNG) ad sales boss Joe Marchese first set the lofty goal at a private industry event it held in Los Angeles for advertisers, buyers and rival network executives.

A mere two minutes worth of commercials would be a big change: On broadcast last year, the average amount of ad time per hour was just over 13 minutes, according to Nielsen. Add three more minutes to that for cable, like FNG’s FX.

Such a major reduction in commercial time would necessitate a big price-hike for 15, 30 and 60-second (or 120 seconds, if you want the whole shebang) spots. Fox is hoping the economic rules of supply and demand will keep its advertising revenue steady.

Also Read: How Fox Can Wrestle WWE ‘Raw’ Rights From USA Network

Marchese’s push follows Linda Yaccarino’s: Last week, the NBCUniversal ad guru announced plans to cut commercial time across her networks by 20 percent this fall.

NBCU will also launch a new 60-second contextually-programmed “Prime Pod” during the first or last break of a show dedicated to up to two advertisers, however.

Fox and FNG did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on this story.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Beth Behrs to Star in Fox’s Lee Daniels Comedy Pilot ‘Our People’

‘9-1-1’ Showrunner Tim Minear Re-Ups Overall Deal With 20th Century Fox TV

Bruce Margolis, Fox Studio Executive and TV Producer, Dies at 64

Fox wants to shrink the ad time on its channels to just two minutes per hour by 2020, the company told media buyers and advertisers last week.

“The two minutes per hour is a real target for Fox, and also our challenge for the industry,” Ed Davis, chief product officer for ad sales at Fox Networks Group, told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. “Creating a sustainable model for ad-supported storytelling will require us all to move.”

“We did reduce ad time by 75 percent in FX Originals on-demand last year, and saw great effectiveness in brand lift,” he added. “We are tuning our approach with the new targeting and ad products so we can scale more widely.”

Fox Networks Group (FNG) ad sales boss Joe Marchese first set the lofty goal at a private industry event it held in Los Angeles for advertisers, buyers and rival network executives.

A mere two minutes worth of commercials would be a big change: On broadcast last year, the average amount of ad time per hour was just over 13 minutes, according to Nielsen. Add three more minutes to that for cable, like FNG’s FX.

Such a major reduction in commercial time would necessitate a big price-hike for 15, 30 and 60-second (or 120 seconds, if you want the whole shebang) spots. Fox is hoping the economic rules of supply and demand will keep its advertising revenue steady.

Marchese’s push follows Linda Yaccarino’s: Last week, the NBCUniversal ad guru announced plans to cut commercial time across her networks by 20 percent this fall.

NBCU will also launch a new 60-second contextually-programmed “Prime Pod” during the first or last break of a show dedicated to up to two advertisers, however.

Fox and FNG did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on this story.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Beth Behrs to Star in Fox's Lee Daniels Comedy Pilot 'Our People'

'9-1-1' Showrunner Tim Minear Re-Ups Overall Deal With 20th Century Fox TV

Bruce Margolis, Fox Studio Executive and TV Producer, Dies at 64

Fox Plans Media-Industry Summit to Fix Advertising Challenges (EXCLUSIVE)

Add Fox Networks Group to the list of TV companies trying to get Madison Avenue talking about major potholes in its road. The unit of 21st Century Fox, controlled by Rupert Murdoch and his family, will on March 1 convene a day-long, off-the-record meeting on the lot of the company’s 20th Century Fox studio. Invitees include […]

Add Fox Networks Group to the list of TV companies trying to get Madison Avenue talking about major potholes in its road. The unit of 21st Century Fox, controlled by Rupert Murdoch and his family, will on March 1 convene a day-long, off-the-record meeting on the lot of the company’s 20th Century Fox studio. Invitees include […]

‘Deep State’ Trailer: First-Look At Fox’s Mark Strong-Fronted International Spy Thriller

Fox Networks Group has unveiled the first-look at its global espionage thriller Deep State, starring Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’s Mark Strong. The show, which is the company’s first regional scripted commission for Europe and Africa, sees Strong play an ex-spy, whose past comes back to haunt him.
The trailer shows Strong, who has also starred in Zero Dark Thirty and Kingsman: The Golden Circle, in the middle of a covert intelligence war and immersed in a widespread…

Fox Networks Group has unveiled the first-look at its global espionage thriller Deep State, starring Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy's Mark Strong. The show, which is the company's first regional scripted commission for Europe and Africa, sees Strong play an ex-spy, whose past comes back to haunt him. The trailer shows Strong, who has also starred in Zero Dark Thirty and Kingsman: The Golden Circle, in the middle of a covert intelligence war and immersed in a widespread…

Former NBCU Executive to Run Fox Networks U.K.

Colin McLeod has been named general manager of Fox’s channel operations in the U.K. As general manager, Fox Networks U.K., he will oversee the Fox, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild and BabyTV linear and digital services in the U.K. Disney is in the throes of acquiring a raft of Fox assets including Fox Networks Group. […]

Colin McLeod has been named general manager of Fox’s channel operations in the U.K. As general manager, Fox Networks U.K., he will oversee the Fox, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild and BabyTV linear and digital services in the U.K. Disney is in the throes of acquiring a raft of Fox assets including Fox Networks Group. […]

Behind the Disney-Fox Merger: 7 Things We Still Need to Know – and 3 We Already Do

The merger of 21st Century Fox’s main entertainment assets with The Walt Disney Company announced on Thusday is one of those deals that come around once in a generation.

It signals a major change in the balance of power in Hollywood, as well as serves as a reflection of the seismic shift that has happened over the past decade with the rise of technology platforms.

Also Read: Disney Acquires 21st Century Fox Assets for $52.4 Billion

WaxWord will weigh in on that a bit later, but in the meantime, here are seven questions that weigh on our minds with this mega-merger:

1. What happens to top executives?
Dozens of top-notch executives are thrown into limbo by the merger, a talent pool the likes of which has not been available for decades.

Will streaming giants Amazon and Netflix swoop in to poach Fox executives? I think yes. Among the chief targets are studio chief Stacey Snider, production chief Emma Watts, Fox 2000 lead Elizabeth Gabler, marketing veterans Pam Levine or Julie Rieger — all on the movie side alone.

And it’s anybody’s guess the next corporate home for the unique management and programming skills of Dana Walden and Gary Newman — partners of two decades — not to mention the couple dozen of top rated television chiefs who work for them.

2. What about Peter Rice?
Rice, president of 21st Century Fox as well as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fox Networks Group, is one of the top executives at Fox.

He has been Rupert Murdoch’s favored non-biological son for two decades, often seen as someone who could lead the company. Will he be left in the cold, or groomed to succeed Bob Iger?

3. What exactly happens to Hulu?
Hulu is sticking around. Iger has made clear that whatever Disney’s new streaming service is — it’s not this. So now Disney will own a 60 percent stake in Hulu — the combined stake of Disney and Fox — and will need to decide about the future of the streaming service.

The streaming service has had some significant success in the past year but has also been plagued by infighting among the owner-parents — which also include Comcast (through NBCUniversal) and Time Warner (through Turner Broadcasting).

Also Read: Hulu Won’t Morph Into Disney’s New Streaming Service, Bob Iger Says

4. Does Fox Searchlight have a future?
The prized indie film studio, which won Best Picture with “12 Years a Slave” and has a major Oscar contender this year with “The Shape of Water,” is a source of prestige but not great revenue or profits at Fox.

Will Disney keep it as a standalone label after its rocky 17-year experience with Miramax, which it sold in 2010? Will it be relegated to making movies for the streaming service?

5. Will Disney have an appetite R-rated fare?
Fox has built the model for R-rated superhero action with “Deadpool,” and fan-friendly horror fare like Ridley Scott’s “Alien.” Can this comfortably live with the Disney brand of filmed entertainment? Fans are going to hope so.

Also Read: X-Men, Fantastic Four Fans Rejoice at Prospect of Mega-Avengers Movies With Disney-Fox Merger

6. Will this media mega-merger pass muster with Donald Trump’s regulators?
With the Trump-era Department of Justice suing AT&T over its planned acquisition of Time-Warner, many will want to see the same scrutiny of this mega-deal.

It seems Rupert Murdoch’s friendship with Donald Trump might smooth the path, although many will be watching the space closely. (Personally I see zero chance of Donald doing anything to discomfit Rupert’s plans. He needs Fox News too much.)

7. How will exhibitors react?
This move further weakens theatrical exhibition, since it creates fewer sources of movie content and thus diminishes their leverage. The struggling chains are now being confronted with the pressure of MoviePass — a flat fee subscription service — and now the overwhelming force of Disney plus Fox.

The three things we know are:
• Hulu is staying put for the moment.

• X-Men and the Fantastic Four are likely to hook up with other Marvel superheroes in the not-too-distant future.

• Rupert and Donald will stay tight buddies, and Bob Iger ain’t running for president next cycle.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Writers Guild West Warns Fox-Disney Merger Will Be at ‘Expense of Creators’

Why the Disney-Fox Deal Won’t Be Good for Nerds, or Anyone Else (Commentary)

X-Men, Fantastic Four Fans Rejoice at Prospect of Mega-Avengers Movies With Disney-Fox Merger

The merger of 21st Century Fox’s main entertainment assets with The Walt Disney Company announced on Thusday is one of those deals that come around once in a generation.

It signals a major change in the balance of power in Hollywood, as well as serves as a reflection of the seismic shift that has happened over the past decade with the rise of technology platforms.

WaxWord will weigh in on that a bit later, but in the meantime, here are seven questions that weigh on our minds with this mega-merger:

1. What happens to top executives?
Dozens of top-notch executives are thrown into limbo by the merger, a talent pool the likes of which has not been available for decades.

Will streaming giants Amazon and Netflix swoop in to poach Fox executives? I think yes. Among the chief targets are studio chief Stacey Snider, production chief Emma Watts, Fox 2000 lead Elizabeth Gabler, marketing veterans Pam Levine or Julie Rieger — all on the movie side alone.

And it’s anybody’s guess the next corporate home for the unique management and programming skills of Dana Walden and Gary Newman — partners of two decades — not to mention the couple dozen of top rated television chiefs who work for them.

2. What about Peter Rice?
Rice, president of 21st Century Fox as well as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fox Networks Group, is one of the top executives at Fox.

He has been Rupert Murdoch’s favored non-biological son for two decades, often seen as someone who could lead the company. Will he be left in the cold, or groomed to succeed Bob Iger?

3. What exactly happens to Hulu?
Hulu is sticking around. Iger has made clear that whatever Disney’s new streaming service is — it’s not this. So now Disney will own a 60 percent stake in Hulu — the combined stake of Disney and Fox — and will need to decide about the future of the streaming service.

The streaming service has had some significant success in the past year but has also been plagued by infighting among the owner-parents — which also include Comcast (through NBCUniversal) and Time Warner (through Turner Broadcasting).

4. Does Fox Searchlight have a future?
The prized indie film studio, which won Best Picture with “12 Years a Slave” and has a major Oscar contender this year with “The Shape of Water,” is a source of prestige but not great revenue or profits at Fox.

Will Disney keep it as a standalone label after its rocky 17-year experience with Miramax, which it sold in 2010? Will it be relegated to making movies for the streaming service?

5. Will Disney have an appetite R-rated fare?
Fox has built the model for R-rated superhero action with “Deadpool,” and fan-friendly horror fare like Ridley Scott’s “Alien.” Can this comfortably live with the Disney brand of filmed entertainment? Fans are going to hope so.

6. Will this media mega-merger pass muster with Donald Trump’s regulators?
With the Trump-era Department of Justice suing AT&T over its planned acquisition of Time-Warner, many will want to see the same scrutiny of this mega-deal.

It seems Rupert Murdoch’s friendship with Donald Trump might smooth the path, although many will be watching the space closely. (Personally I see zero chance of Donald doing anything to discomfit Rupert’s plans. He needs Fox News too much.)

7. How will exhibitors react?
This move further weakens theatrical exhibition, since it creates fewer sources of movie content and thus diminishes their leverage. The struggling chains are now being confronted with the pressure of MoviePass — a flat fee subscription service — and now the overwhelming force of Disney plus Fox.

The three things we know are:
• Hulu is staying put for the moment.

• X-Men and the Fantastic Four are likely to hook up with other Marvel superheroes in the not-too-distant future.

• Rupert and Donald will stay tight buddies, and Bob Iger ain’t running for president next cycle.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Writers Guild West Warns Fox-Disney Merger Will Be at 'Expense of Creators'

Why the Disney-Fox Deal Won't Be Good for Nerds, or Anyone Else (Commentary)

X-Men, Fantastic Four Fans Rejoice at Prospect of Mega-Avengers Movies With Disney-Fox Merger

‘Greatest Showman’ Cast to Perform Live Trailer During Fox’s ‘A Christmas Story’ Musical

Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Zendaya are all participating in a one-of-a-kind marketing experiment from 20th Century Fox, staging a live trailer for their new musical “The Greatest Showman.”

The stars will perform a two-and-a-half minute music spectacle in support of the film, during Fox’s live staging of the musical “A Christmas Story Live” this Sunday. Newcomer Keale Settle, who plays the bearded lady in the film about P.T. Barnum, will join them for the stunt.

“As we continue to drive innovation in both our programming and ad products, we are thrilled to be working in partnership with our sister film studio in this exciting live holiday event,” said Suzanne Sullivan, Executive Vice President of Entertainment Ad Sales for Fox Networks Group.

Also Read: Watch Zendaya, Zac Efron Accidentally Collide During ‘Greatest Showman’ Outtake (Video)

“We can’t wait to watch as Hugh, Zac, Zendaya and Keala make history and unwrap the first-ever live theatrical commercial on FOX’s air.”

As if “A Christmas Story” wasn’t heavy enough lifting, the “Showman” crew will take up a stage adjacent to the TV special, which stars Maya Rudolph, Matthew Broderick and Jane Krakowski on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, CA.

Warner Horizon Unscripted and Alternative Television are producing “Christmas Story.”

Marc Platt (“Grease: Live,” “La La Land,” “Wicked”) and Adam Siegel (“Grease: Live”) executive produce, with Jonathan Tolins and Robert Cary (“Grease: Live,” “Anything but Love,” “Ira & Abby”) serve as co-executive producers.

“Showman” also counts Michelle Williams and Rebecca Ferguson in its ensemble. It opens nationwide on Dec. 20.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Watch Zendaya, Zac Efron Accidentally Collide During ‘Greatest Showman’ Outtake (Video)

‘The Greatest Showman’: Hugh Jackman Corrals Lions, Elephants and Bearded Ladies – Oh My! (Video)

Hugh Jackman Is ‘The Greatest Showman’ in First Trailer for Circus Musical (Video)

Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Zendaya are all participating in a one-of-a-kind marketing experiment from 20th Century Fox, staging a live trailer for their new musical “The Greatest Showman.”

The stars will perform a two-and-a-half minute music spectacle in support of the film, during Fox’s live staging of the musical “A Christmas Story Live” this Sunday. Newcomer Keale Settle, who plays the bearded lady in the film about P.T. Barnum, will join them for the stunt.

“As we continue to drive innovation in both our programming and ad products, we are thrilled to be working in partnership with our sister film studio in this exciting live holiday event,” said Suzanne Sullivan, Executive Vice President of Entertainment Ad Sales for Fox Networks Group.

“We can’t wait to watch as Hugh, Zac, Zendaya and Keala make history and unwrap the first-ever live theatrical commercial on FOX’s air.”

As if “A Christmas Story” wasn’t heavy enough lifting, the “Showman” crew will take up a stage adjacent to the TV special, which stars Maya Rudolph, Matthew Broderick and Jane Krakowski on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, CA.

Warner Horizon Unscripted and Alternative Television are producing “Christmas Story.”

Marc Platt (“Grease: Live,” “La La Land,” “Wicked”) and Adam Siegel (“Grease: Live”) executive produce, with Jonathan Tolins and Robert Cary (“Grease: Live,” “Anything but Love,” “Ira & Abby”) serve as co-executive producers.

“Showman” also counts Michelle Williams and Rebecca Ferguson in its ensemble. It opens nationwide on Dec. 20.

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'The Greatest Showman': Hugh Jackman Corrals Lions, Elephants and Bearded Ladies – Oh My! (Video)

Hugh Jackman Is 'The Greatest Showman' in First Trailer for Circus Musical (Video)