Deal will involve a restructuring of operations to allow Walden and Newman to continue to run the 20th TV production group in addition to steering the programming operations of Fox Broadcasting. The shuffle comes on the heels of Kevin Reilly’s departure in June as Fox Entertainment chairman.
The formal announcement is expected to come as early as Monday. Fox declined comment.
Specifics of the reorg plan are still murky but the discussions have been under way for several weeks. Reilly announced his plan to step down in May after seven years of overseeing Fox programming.
The decision to bring the network and studio under the management of Walden and Newman was a logical move on the part of Fox Networks Group CEO Peter Rice and 21st Century Fox chief operating officer Chase Carey at a time when the network is in rebuilding mode.
Walden and Newman have headed 20th TV for the past 15 years, expanding the studio’s operations as a supplier of primetime shows to networks and cable outlets. Walden in particular has long been seen as a contender to eventually take on programming responsibilities for the sibling broadcast network.
Bringing the network and TV studio under the same management hierarchy is a return to the 1999-2003 period when Sandy Grushow held a similar post.
A number of names floated around in the wake of Reilly’s announcement of his decision to step down. But sources said Fox brass were largely focused on internal candidates for his successor from the start. John Landgraf, head of FX Networks, was also seen as being part of a restructuring scenario that could have brought Fox Broadcasting under his group.
But the marriage of the network and 20th TV makes strategic sense as the studio produces a majority of the network’s programming, including last season’s promising fantasy drama “Sleepy Hollow.”