10:04am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Dana Walden, Gary Newman Ink 1-Year Fox Contract Extension as Disney Sale Looms
Fox TV Group chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman are staying put — for now.
Walden and Newman are in advanced talks for a new one-year contract extension that will keep them at the helm of studio 20th Century Fox Television and the Fox network. The new pact, should the deal close, comes as regulators are expected to approve Disney's $52.4 billion deal to acquire Fox assets, including the studio and FX.
Questions surrounding Walden and Newman's future with the network and studio have been swirling for months after the potential Disney deal was announced. The duo have already started to pivot the broadcast network into a home for broad-skewing procedurals and multicamera comedies, including the revival of Tim Allen's Last Man Standing.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the extension has been in the works for more than a month. The extension allows Walden and Newman — and Fox and potentially Disney — time to figure out their new roles should the sale clear regulatory approval, as has been widely expected. When the sale was announced in December, both companies expected the deal to be approved within 18 months.
For her part, Walden has been rumored to be up for top jobs including one at Amazon (it went to NBC's Jennifer Salke), a high-profile role within Disney or a move to Netflix to work alongside her friend and longtime collaborator Ryan Murphy. The prolific producer inked a massive $300 million deal with the streaming giant and will segue from his longtime home at 20th TV — where he once joked that he'd be buried on the studio's lot — and will transition over this summer. In a testament to her relationship with the creator of Fox's 911 and former hits including Glee, Murphy made a surprise appearance Monday during Fox's upfront presentation to Madison Avenue ad buyers in New York.
In the meantime, Walden and Newman have been busy prepping the "New Fox" — as the network has been dubbed post-Disney — with a roster of broad-skewing procedurals and multicams. Gone are the network's critically beloved single-camera comedies including Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Last Man on Earth and The Mick following a wave of cancellations that also included the dramas The Exorcist and Lucifer.
As part of the push, Fox recently inked a five-year, $550 million annual deal for Thursday Night Football, which will take up more than 30 hours of the network's fall schedule. That pact signaled parent company 21st Century Fox's plans for a sports- and news-heavy "New Fox."
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