Celebrity news

Fox buys celebrity news and gossip site TMZ from AT&T’s WarnerMedia

Fox Entertainment has acquired TMZ from WarnerMedia, the celebrity gossip and TV show site operated by Harvey Levin, the companies announced Monday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but TMZ, who is best known for breaking news on celebrity gossip and deaths, is valued at less than $50 million, people familiar with the matter told The Post.

News of a potential sale leaked in August, months after AT&T signed a $43 billion deal to spin off its WarnerMedia entertainment division to Discovery, owner of TLC, Animal Planet and HGTV.

Fox is already familiar with TMZ’s business, which includes the popular TMZ.com website and several television shows. The network’s local television stations carry the TMZ shows “TMZ” and “TMZ Live”. Additionally, TMZ has produced specials for Fox’s entertainment division, including “Harry & Meghan: The Royals in Crisis” and “TMZ Sports,” a sports gossip show aired by cable network Fox Sports 1.

Harvey Levin, co-founder and editor of TMZ, will remain in charge of operations under the new owner, Fox.
Charley Gallay

TMZ co-founder and editor Levin has also produced shows for Fox News. According to the companies, Levin, who launched TMZ in 2005 and hosts its television shows, will remain in charge of operations.

In a statement, Levin said being under the Fox umbrella will create new opportunities to grow TMZ. “We couldn’t be busier,” he added.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Levin’s deal with WarnerMedia was expiring and he wasn’t expected to stay had TMZ stayed there. TMZ’s reporting of movie and TV stars with whom the WarnerMedia empire had business had created tension, the report said.

John Stankey, CEO of AT&T
AT&T CEO John Stankey has made selling non-core assets like TMZ a priority as the telecommunications company ramps up its 5G technology.
Getty Images for Warner Media

TMZ won’t have that problem at Fox, which primarily produces sports and reality shows like “The Masked Singer” and “Hell’s Kitchen” starring Gordon Ramsay.

“TMZ has been an impactful program for our FOX television stations and broadcast partners for many years,” said Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman and chief executive officer of Fox Corp.

Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier added, “We see great potential building on TMZ’s brand and track record and adding new creative ventures with Harvey and the TMZ team.”

Fox and News Corp., the parent company of The Post, share common ownership.

The decision to sell TMZ comes as AT&T, led by CEO John Stankey, has shifted its focus to selling non-core businesses to raise cash to pay down debt and make new investments in technology. 5G.

Besides the Discovery deal, in the last year alone AT&T sold its Crunchyroll animated streaming business to Sony for around $1 billion, and it spun off its DirectTV business, selling a 30% stake to the company. investment capital TPG.