Warner Bros. Wants to Beef Up TMZ

By Andrew Gauthier 

The Los Angeles Times

Warner Bros. wants to expand TMZ, the tabloid news website and TV show that has become the bane of every celebrity’s life for its scathing — and usually accurate — reporting on the rich and the restless.

TMZ, which was the brainchild of lawyer turned muckraker Harvey Levin, has been run as a partnership between Warner Bros.’ Telepictures unit and America Online since it launched in December 2005. Now though, as AOL prepares to spin off from Time Warner, TMZ will become 100% owned and operated by Warner Bros. AOL will continue to feature TMZ on its home page to drive traffic to the site for the next year, but Warner Bros. is also going to start establishing relationships with other portals in an effort to broaden its reach.

Often dismissed as a bunch of kids going through celebrity garbage cans, TMZ gained new prominence when it was first to report that pop star Michael Jackson died. It also has been out front on the Tiger Woods scandal.

According to regulatory filings, TMZ had revenues in 2008 of $25.4 million. More…