Fox Restructures Programming With New Department, Partners With YouTube Channel

2:30 PM PST 02/19/2013 by Michael O'Connell
FOX
From left: James Oh, Shana Waterman and Kiliaen Van Rensselaer

The network launches a group focused on event series and multiplatform content to support its digital push and 2014 movement into the longform arena.

In an effort to support its evolving programming model, Fox announced Tuesday the launch of an event series and multiplatform programming department and a multiyear partnership with YouTube channel WIGS.

Under the restructuring and expansion, James Oh has been promoted to senior vp current programming. His appointment comes just a week after news that longtime executive vp current programming Marcy Ross was departing to pursue work on the creative side of the TV business. Oh, previously vp of the department, will work directly under COO Joe Earley in his day-to-day management of the team.

In the new division, Fox senior vp current programming Shana Waterman will move over to serve as senior vp event series and multiplatform programming. She's joined by Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, previously of News Corp. Digital, who will serve as senior vp to run the group's business and operations.

“These appointments are an investment in some of our top people to strengthen our core programming business and take strategic steps forward with alternative platforms to incubate talent and ideas,” said network entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly. “With James, our go-to current [programming] exec for many years, heading up our current team, Shana, a creative self-starter who has driven some of Fox’s most exciting initiatives, now heading up our event series and multiplatform efforts, and Kiliaen, a key player from News Corp. digital who has a deep background in digital strategy, now driving our new platforms business, we have the leaders and structure in place to run the most forward-thinking programming team in the industry.”

Forming the specialized programming division comes after the network's recent announcement that its pursuing limited series for a summer 2014 launch. News broke in January of Fox's developing longform projects with M. Night Shyamalan and Bruce C. McKenna, with decisions expected later in the year.

In the digital arena, Fox's latest push for online content moves into shortform drama. WIGS, YouTube's most-watched channel for scripted drama, will partner with the network on programming, marketing and distribution as a part of the new pact. Fox will assume a collaborative role on the female-skewing destination, created by Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia, as it grows its viewership base on Fox and other channels.

“Our overarching goal is to create an ecosystem where creative people and ideas can find expression independently in the online environment but benefit from the resources that the larger platform of the network affords,” said Reilly. “It takes unique creators and operators like Jon and Rodrigo and Jake Avnet, who not only understand the unfettered and entrepreneurial digital system but also have a firm grasp on the mainstream -- and can capitalize on both. They’ve spent a year building a novel production process and a vibrant alternative pipeline, and we’re excited to help them take those tremendous stories and talent and develop them into long-term digital or on-air assets.”

WIGS launched in May and has since pulled in 22 million views to date while amassing north of 100,000 subscribers. Popular WIGS series boast a roster of talent including Julia Stiles, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Troian Bellisario, Jennifer Beals, Jennifer Garner, Alfred Molina, Virginia Madsen and Stephen Moyer.

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