×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fox Entertainment Outlines How New Broadcast-Only Overall Deals Work

Fox Entertainment, now a network devoid of a companion studio, has inked an exclusive broadcast-only overall deal with “Criminal Minds” and “Teen Wolf” creator Jeff Davis, in what it says will be the first of a series of direct deals with creators. This new model is designed to remove some of the layers from the creative process, Fox Entertainment’s president of entertainment Michael Thorn told Variety.

“We’re being really strategic about looking for smart ways to develop the best content without the extreme overhead that comes with a big studio,” he said.

Following the split of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets — creating a “New Fox” that houses, alongside Fox Entertainment, a cable news channel, sports cable channel and television stations — Thorn said that the network’s initial goal was to make co-production deals with studios, which was “really successful.”

But in looking to further streamline the process, he said that the aim now is for Fox Entertainment to make a handful of overall deals and develop projects in-house while still working with other studios. It will utilize its Gail Berman-led content accelerator, SideCar, as a talent pipeline. The network will also lean on its newly acquired animation house Bento Box Entertainment to develop animated projects both for the Fox network and to offer up to the general marketplace.

One of the criticisms of broadcast, says Thorn, is that there are too many notes and layers to the process. Under the new Fox Entertainment model, creatives will no longer get notes from both the studio and the network — often a source of consternation for writers — just from Thorn and his team.

“That removal of layers has become really attractive to a lot of talent,” he said. “We have been meeting with writers and managers and some producers and directors to say, ‘Come make a deal with us, we’re only going to make a handful of these deals, we really believe in you and your voice, and we’ll remove all the layers and we’ll have a very simple, organic, creative experience.’ And once we trigger production on something that we’re going to greenlight, we’ll look at how we can create other partners in that process down the road.'”

For example: If the network greenlights a new Jeff Davis drama, Thorn said the company could then decide to produce it internally or with a studio partner.

“What we offer to [Davis] is a broadcast-exclusive deal, where all his broadcast will be done with us, but he still has goals to do streaming and other kinds of programming,” said Thorn.

Fox Entertainment “paid a premium” for Davis to keep all of his broadcast ambitions at the Fox network, though Thorn would not specify how much.

“Enough to make him happy,” he said.

The goal is for Davis to develop three or four projects for the network annually, allowing him flexibility to work elsewhere, said Thorn, calling it a “win-win.”

“We knew, going in, he was planning on writing at least one thing for us and supervising a couple things,” said Thorn. “He liked having a home with direct contact with me and my drama team, so we can have a dialogue about how to get his projects on the air.”

Expect to see more deal announcements from Fox Entertainment in the coming weeks and months, though the agreements will not necessarily be the same as the overall struck with Davis.

Some might be a direct-script deal, or involve the acquisition of IP. Thorn has hired a book scout in New York who is searching for existing material from which to develop programming. The company has just closed a deal on a book, he said; the project, a “messy family drama with a franchise at the center,” so far has no attachments.

“I think in our deals with writers, the way we’re trying to acquire IP and look for the best partner — all our moves there are looking at different ways to re-approach the process, get the best creators and hopefully make a hit out of a couple of these projects.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Will Arnett Joins BBC Soccer Comedy

    Will Arnett Joins BBC Comedy ‘The First Team’ From ‘The Inbetweeners’ Producers

    Will Arnett and Chris Geere will star as the chairman and coach of an English soccer team, respectively, in “The First Team,” a new comedy for the BBC from the producers of “The Inbetweeners.” The series will follow the off-the-field misadventures of three young soccer players played by Shaquille Ali-Yebuah (“The Feed”), Jack McMullen (“The [...]

  • 'Game of Thrones' Fashion at the

    'Game of Thrones,' Fashion Slayers: HBO's Drama Winners Also Shined on the Carpet

    The cast of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” knew how to make an entrance (and an exit) on Sunday night at the Primetime Emmy Awards. Before winning the night’s final trophy, Best Drama Series, stars like Emilia Clarke and Gwendoline Christie pulled out some fantastical looks on the purple carpet, with Clarke donning the mother-of-all-earrings by [...]

  • Emmys Fashion: Best Dressed on the

    Emmys: Best Fashion on the Purple Carpet

    The biggest stars in television stepped out on the Emmy purple carpet on Sunday night in a stunning display of gowns and vivacious looks. Fashion expert Brooke Jaffe, who visited Variety’s set after the show, picked some of her favorite dresses of the night, which included Zendaya’s truly enviable Vera number and Mandy Moore in [...]

  • Emmys 2019: Biggest Winners and Losers

    Winners and Losers of the 71st Emmy Awards

    The 71st Emmy Awards was a spectacular affair for the Brits, while broadcast networks all but vanished. Watch Variety’s Elaine Low and Audrey Yap unpack TV’s biggest night of the year, which saw “Game of Thrones” and “Fleabag” take home the top prizes, winning best drama series and best comedy series, respectively. Popular on Variety

  • Atmosphere71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, Show,

    Emmy Viewers Not 'Feelin' Good' About Bizarre Music Choices

    It was known ahead of time that the Emmy Awards planned to dispense with a traditional orchestra or pit band for the walk-up and bumper music. What wasn’t anticipated was that the music choices were being outsourced to a bar mitzvah DJ in Des Moines. Or, very possibly, it was a local who had found [...]

  • Atmosphere71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, Show,

    Emmys: Big 4 Broadcasters Post Lowest Combined Wins Ever

    The Big 4 broadcast networks put a cap on their worst year in Emmy history on Sunday night. ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC brought home just 16 Emmy Awards — the lowest combined total in history for the four major broadcast networks. The previous low was 19 combined wins in 2016. Last year, the networks [...]

  • Karamo BrownLA LGBT Center 'Hearts of

    Karamo Brown Addresses Backlash Against Sean Spicer Comments

    Karamo Brown has doubled down on comments he made about his fellow “Dancing with the Stars” contestant Sean Spicer, in which he promoted the idea of meeting political adversaries “in the middle.” The amicable “Queer Eye” host received criticism when he said he was “most excited to meet” Spicer ahead of the show’s 28th season, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content