10:55am PT by Lacey Rose
Fox 21, Fox TV Studios Merge, Bert Salke to Lead
Bert Salke's ascent continues at Twentieth Century Fox Television.
As many had predicted when Fox TV Group Chairmen/CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman tapped former Fox TV Studios chief David Madden to join them at the broadcast network this past summer, a decision has been made to combine Fox TV Studios with Salke's Fox 21. In doing so, Salke has been tapped to lead the combined cable studio, newly titled Fox 21 Television Studios.
"This is not Fox 21 taking over Fox TV Studios, and I hope the name reflects that," said Newman in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, noting that the staff of the former will be moving off of the Fox lot and into the Santa Monica Blvd. offices where FTVS has been located.
Newman insisted that there are no plans to cut executives on either staff, stressing that the move was not in any way made as a cost saving measure. Instead, he said of the decision: "In a world where every major company is trying to build scale in this industry, bringing two of the most prolific cable productions units together into one unit really does add a lot of depth and scale to the new group."
Historically, the FTVS brand had been broader and more populist, with cable hits including USA's White Collar and Burn Notice in its portfolio. For its part, Fox 21 had been somewhat more higher brow niche, with Showtime's Homeland as its prized play. But those brand identities have been blurrier of late: FTVS' The Americans could easily have lived on the Fox 21 slate, for instance, while Fox 21's just renewed Legends, at TNT, arguably felt more like a FTVS play.
Twentieth TV's Executive VP of Brand Management and Digital Strategy, Mark Pearson, will be assisting Salke with the transition over the coming months. Together, the pair will integrate the teams, combine the creative cultures and develop a comprehensive business plan and strategy for the new division.
Salke joined 20th TV a little over four years ago, after more than a decade as a producer with credits including Boomtown. In nearly half a decade since, the famously passionate exec and husband to NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke, has added multiple shows from Howard Gordon, including FX's Tyrant, along with new projects from Kurt Sutter and Ryan Murphy. In an interview with THR a year ago, he said of his TV brand: "My taste tends to be male, edgy, a bit darker and a little bit snobby."
The note from Walden and Newman below:
This morning we are excited to announce the formation of Fox 21 Television Studios.
This new company unites the talented executives of Fox 21 and Fox Television Studios, who will now work together to develop and nurture outstanding content for distribution across all platforms. We chose the name Fox 21 Television Studios to honor the rich legacies of great programming created by each unit, from Fox 21's "Homeland," "Sons of Anarchy," and "Tyrant," to FTVS' "Burn Notice," "The Americans" and "The Killing."
We are also pleased to share that Bert Salke has been named President of the new division which, under his leadership, will benefit from his strategic vision. Over the coming months, Bert will be working with Mark Pearson to merge these two great production units into a stronger, and more powerful, company.
The press announcement, which will be released shortly, is attached.
Please join us in congratulating Bert and the united team at Fox 21 Television Studios.
Gary and Dana