Fox's network buying business has been in-house since 1989, when studio executives pulled it from J. Walter Thompson/L.A. to cut costs. The spot media assignment, estimated at $29 million, which has been at Y&R since 1990, is included in the current review.
The search is being conducted by Fox veteran Nancy Utley, executive vp/media and research. Utley declined to confirm that a review is in progress.
Observers say the review isn't a surprise, given a changing of the guard at the studio last year.
Fox Inc. chairman and ceo Barry Diller resigned from his position exactly a year ago. At that point, Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox parent News Corp., took a much more active role in the studio's operations. Publicist Andrea Jaffe came in as president of domestic marketing, a position that had been left open since Joel Hochberg left the studio the previous year. Then in November, Fox chairman Joe Roth left in a battle with Murdoch. He was replaced by Fox Broadcasting president Peter Chernin.
Fox ranked fourth last year in total box office, grossing around $500 million with a 12% share of market. It had six hits that grossed over $50 million: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, White Men Can't Jump, Unlawful Entry, Alien 3, My Cousin Vinny and The Last of the Mohicans.
It had almost as many misses in Shining Through, Prelude to a Kiss, Rapid Fire, This is My Life and Hoffa, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Because of the management changes, Fox did not take part in last week's National Association of Theater Owners convention in Las Vegas, where exhibitors traditionally show reels of their upcoming films. Films the studio plans to release this year include Hot Shots 2, Rising Sun, The Beverly Hillbillies and Mrs. Doubtfire.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)