Lachlan Murdoch, 21st Century Fox’s co-chairman, called to order what was “likely the final” stockholders meeting of his family media company on Wednesday.
It was a polished, if not anticlimactic, affair that gave us an official name for New Fox as the Walt Disney Company prepares to ingest the former’s film and TV assets, leaving a leaner broadcasting infrastructure, sports programming, and the news operation.
Up for vote for the shareholders were standard issues like executive compensation and the approval of a dual stock structure, with a bit of palace intrigue and strategy peppered in. Here’s what Variety learned on the ground at the West Los Angeles Fox lot:
New Fox Has a New Name
It’s “Fox.” Leave your questions in the comments section below.
Rupert Stands Down
Eighty seven-year-old mogul and News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch appeared for only seconds at the top of the meeting to introduce son Lachlan, his co-chair at 21st Century Fox. It was Lachlan’s show otherwise. He opened with remarks about excitement over an expanded Disney and a revamped Fox. Rupert’s son James Murdoch, the company’s CEO, was present, but did not speak. He’s grown a formidable beard, FYI.
What Is Fox Now?
As expected, Fox will lean into its bread and butter: “disruptive” TV shows, “brash” sports coverage, and, of course, the news operation, Lachlan said. He also extolled his dad as a “journalist at heart,” before praising the company’s news operation as the “best news and the clearest opinion.” Lachlan offered no timeline or for the assembly and announcement of a creative team on the TV side.
New Fox (it’s just “Fox” now, you’ll remember) was never expected to jump headfirst into the theatrical film business. Wednesday essentially confirmed that. The only capacity in which Fox’s film legacy was mentioned was in a victory lap at the top of Lachlan’s speech, where he praised the old company as the force behind “Avatar,” “Titanic,” “Home Alone,” “Life of Pi,” the “X-Men” series, and more. Also, rather ironically, the Murdochs welcomed shareholders with a medley of hits from “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack.
Now that 20th Century Fox Film and prestige label Fox Searchlight belong to Disney, it resurfaces an interesting question about the viability of those brand names surviving under Bob Iger’s roof. One theory floated on the ground by chatty meeting attendees: Disney could simply kill “Fox” in each title, leaving the labels as “20th Century” and “Searchlight,” respectively.
Neither company had immediate comment.