Los Angeles Times

Fox Entertainm­ent buys TMZ portfolio

The purchase of the website and TV shows continues its strategy of focusing on live or same-day viewing.


Fox Entertainm­ent has acquired WarnerMedi­a’s TMZ, the tabloid website and TV shows operated by Harvey Levin, the company announced Monday.

Levin, the attorney and former TV legal correspond­ent who founded the brand in 2005 with the late Warner Bros. TV executive Jim Paratore, will remain as

TMZ’s managing editor under the new ownership. He will report to Rob Wade, Fox Entertainm­ent’s president of alternativ­e entertainm­ent and specials.

No price was disclosed for the TMZ portfolio, which includes the company’s eponymous daily syndicated program and its spinoff “TMZ Live.” The shows will now be part of Fox Television Stations’ syndicatio­n division, Fox First Run.

The acquisitio­n of TMZ will add to Fox Corp.’s strategy of focusing on programs that command live or sameday viewing on traditiona­l TV as audiences increasing­ly turn to streaming for scripted sitcoms, dramas and movies. Fox Corp.’s assets include Fox News, the most-watched cable channel in the country.

“TMZ” and “TMZ Live” already air on 18 TV stations owned by Fox. “TMZ Sports” airs on the Fox Sports cable network FS1. The company’s digital properties include TMZ.com as well as celebrity and culture site TooFab.com.

TMZ stands for 30-mile zone, a geographic area in Los Angeles used by union film projects to determine working conditions and per diem rates and driving distances for crew members.

Levin’s TMZ is known for its pursuit of celebrity news, and its impromptu interviews with stars as they exit restaurant­s or airport terminals have become familiar images across the media landscape.

TMZ has ruled the Hollywood news cycle by breaking such stories as Mel Gibson’s antisemiti­c rant in 2006, the angry and abusive voicemail Alec Baldwin left in 2007 for his 11-year-old daughter and the 2009 audiotape of Christian Bale’s profanity-laced tirade on the “Terminator Salvation” film set.

TMZ is also tapped into Los Angeles’ emergency services community, helping the outfit be the first to report on major celebrity deaths. Its scoops include the deaths of pop legend Michael Jackson and retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

“The unique and powerful brand Harvey has created in TMZ has forever changed the entertainm­ent industry and we’re excited to welcome them to Fox,” said Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman and chief executive of Fox Corp.

In a statement, Levin said having his operation under Fox Entertainm­ent “is opening up a world of opportunit­ies for TMZ to grow our current platforms and expand in every which way!”

TMZ has already produced several specials for Fox, including “Harry & Meghan: The Royals in Crisis,” “Tiger King: What Really Went Down” and “UFOs: The Pentagon Proof.”

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