Dana Walden and Gary Newman were named network chiefs of Fox, replacing exiting Fox Broadcasting Chairman Kevin Reilly following his announced departure in late May, The Hollywood Reporter reported today.
The pair will also retain oversight over the studio, keeping "titles as chairmen and CEO of a newly formed division of the Fox Networks Group entitled Fox Television Group," according to The Hollywood Reporter. Walden and Newman will begin their positions effective later this month, reporting to FNG Chairman Peter Rice.
Walden and Newman spent the last 15 years running 20th Century Fox studios together as chairmen and CEOs, with recent success stories including the critically acclaimed Homeland and the massively popular Modern Family. "The delay speaks to the challenges of putting together a deal of this size and scope, with multiple sources suggesting Walden was seeking such things as ultimate creative control," speculates The Hollywood Reporter. While Walden was widely considered the obvious choice for the position, The Hollywood Reporter states that multiple sources reported that Walden insisted on sharing the role with Newman.
"As we look to the future of the broadcast television business, it is clear that the best path forward is to operate our creative and broadcast divisions under the leadership of a single team, and that Gary and Dana are the perfect executives to take on this new role," 21st Century Fox President Chase Carey said in a statement earlier today. ""While TCFTV and FBC will each continue as an open supplier and an open network, respectively, the closer alignment of these two properties, coupled with a unified vision from Dana and Gary, gives us a clear advantage in creating even more hit content that will benefit both businesses."
"The time is right to unite these divisions," added Walden and Newman in a joint statement. "Television has never been more creatively vibrant and the business has never been more dynamic. Our goal is to make FBC the number one destination for creators with big visions and bold ideas, because our guiding principle has always been 'talent first.' We are humbled by the challenges and exhilarated by the opportunities ahead. It’s an exciting time."
The duo will have their work cut out for them in their new positions heading the struggling network. Fox has suffered recently from sinking ratings for network mainstays like American Idol and Glee, while also failing to add new shows outside of supernatural police drama Sleepy Hollow. The network especially struggled with the crucial 18-49 demographic last season, despite airing the Super Bowl.
But Walden and Newman remain optimisitc. "We are humbled by the challenge, energized by the opportunities and emboldened by the fact that we'll be joined by such talented executives on both sides of the organization," they said in a memo to staff.