ABC Exits Fusion; Univision Becomes Sole Owner

By Chris Ariens Comment

Disney and Univision have reached an agreement which will see ABC exit the joint venture which created the cable channel and digital platform Fusion.

Univision announced it will take full ownership and launch the Fusion Media Group (FMG). “Fully integrating Fusion into our portfolio closely aligns with our desire to engage with our growing audience wherever they are, whenever they want and in their language of preference,” said Randy Falco, President and CEO of Univision Communications. Daniel Eilemberg has been named President and Chief Content Officer of Fusion and Boris Gartner has been named President and Chief Operating Officer.

Reports surfaced in December that Disney was looking to move on from the JV which led to the launch of Fusion in October, 2013.

Fusion was to be ABC News’s answer to a 24-hour cable news channel, while giving Univision access to the English-language market. Based primarily in Miami, the network was originally billed as a network for young Hispanics. But even before launch, Fusion shifted its focus to millennials. As the TV channel struggled to gain widespread distribution, and the hours produced for TV dwindled, the company hired a slew of writers and editors for Fusion.net and its social platforms.

In a note to staff, obtained by TVNewser, Univision News president Isaac Lee, who was instrumental in launching Fusion, thanked Disney/ABC TV executive Ben Sherwood, “who joined us in thinking big as we took the idea of Fusion and made it a reality.” Lee says he expects joint programming projects like Nightline on Fusion and The Dan LeBatard Show simulcast with ESPN to continue.

Univision will take over ABC’s role in distribution and ad sales. The transition of ownership will happen once the transaction is completed. Terms were not disclosed.

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