Fox’s Charlie Collier: New Company ‘Eagerly Awaiting Day One’ After Disney Sale

Charlie Collier
David Buchan/Variety

Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier said that the new Fox Corporation will be “more nimble” and getting a “rare business opportunity” to rethink what it means to be a broadcast network once the sale of other 21st Century Fox assets to Disney is completed.

“We’re all eagerly awaiting our company’s new Day One,” said Collier at the Television Critics Association winter press tour Wednesday. The former AMC/SundanceTV programming chief took on the new role in November overseeing Fox Broadcasting and the company’s live, scripted and unscripted entertainment programming strategy.

He touted New Fox’s flexibility in deal-making, and indicated that it plans to work with independent studios not aligned with a Big Four network, such as Sony Pictures TV and Warner Bros. He called the ability to play the field “a real powerful tool in our arsenal” at a time when the rest of the industry is highly vertically integrated and networks are focused on keeping productions in house.

“I think we’re going to have capabilities without a lot of the overhead that you saw before,” Collier said on stage, nodding to the potential to enhance Fox’s physical production capabilities down the road.

Collier also announced the formation of SideCar, a content development accelerator headed by Jackal Group chairman and CEO Gail Berman, which will be committed to finding and incubating content.

Separately, when asked if there was friction with the creative community because of Fox’s association with Fox News, Collier sidestepped the issue. He said he understood why it was a heated issue for many people — given the perception in Hollywood that Fox News is often a cheerleader for the Trump administration. Collier said he “found (himself) looking across the aisle,” and the bottom line is that the news and entertainment divisions are run completely separately.

Collier also discussed:

  • Ryan Murphy: “Any time Ryan Murphy wants to build something, we take it very seriously,” he said, but said there are no plans to revive Murphy’s Fox series “Scream Queens,” as was recently floated on Twitter.
  • Wrestling: Fox Broadcasting’s cable sibling Fox Sports 1 and other networks will have “some” other wrestling under Fox’s new deal with WWE. But the “SmackDown” franchise will be reserved for the broadcast net. Last June, WWE and Fox Sports inked a five-year deal to air “SmackDown Live” on Fox Broadcasting in late 2019.
  • “Rent.” Collier said it would have been “impractical” to have understudies for the entire cast of the Jan. 31 telecast that was hampered when star Brennin Hunt broke his foot at the dress rehearsal the night before the live telecast. “Rent” was a commercial flop for the network, drawing just over 3 million viewers. Collier nonetheless asserted that Fox “had so much to be proud of” and “executed beautifully.”