TMZ—the home of the intrepid gossip mongers who bring us daily videos of celebrities stumbling out of nightclubs, airports, and cars—is jumping ship from WarnerMedia to Fox Corporation in a deal worth an estimated $50 million, Variety reports.
Founded as a website by former KCBS-TV reporter and longtime The People’s Court correspondent Harvey Levin and the late Telepictures mega-producer Jim Paratore (Ellen, The Tyra Banks Show) during an apparent celebrity news shortage in 2005, TMZ birthed the daily syndicated shows TMZ in 2007 and TMZ Live in 2011, which already air on Fox stations.
Levin will remain in charge of his TMZ crew and continue to be the face of its television offerings while reporting to Fox Entertainment president of alternative and specials Rob Wade. The entire TMZ outfit—including TMZ Sports and its colossal Too Fab celebrity scandal empire—will now be folded into the portfolio of Fox Entertainment chief Charlie Collier as the company tries to expand its presence in digital news, sports, and lifestyle programing.
The sale is part of Warner parent AT&T’s ongoing mission to unload non-essential properties and pay down a debt in excess of $150 billion. TMZ has also been something of an unloved stepchild in the Warner family, exposing the often-true secrets of the most twinkling stars at Warner Bros. and HBO.
“The unique and powerful brand Harvey has created in TMZ has forever changed the entertainment industry and we’re excited to welcome them to Fox,” Fox Corp. chairman-CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement. “TMZ has been an impactful program for our Fox television stations and broadcast partners for many years and I know [Fox Television CEO] Jack Abernethy and Charlie Collier will find creative ways to utilize and expand this content in effective and compelling ways for our audiences.”
Levin added, “We couldn’t be more charged. Fox Entertainment is opening up a world of opportunities for TMZ to grow our current platforms and expand in every which way.”
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. news, food, and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.