As 21st Century Fox prepares to offload major assets to Disney, newly minted Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier acknowledged Wednesday that downsizing amid wider industry consolidation may seem crazy.
But “one thing I’ve learned in this business is that crazy is in the eye of the beholder,” he told TV critics at the TCA Winter Press Tour.
The exec referred to the upcoming deal close as Fox’s “new Day One.” Competition with larger entities like Comcast-NBCU, Disney, Amazon and Netflix lets the new Fox Entertainment be “more nimble and more able to match business with opportunity than I think some of the vertically integrated partners that are out there,” he said. That could mean more work with indie studios, big-name creators looking for homes for passion projects and even new voices yet undiscovered.
“One of the great components of our strategy is that we can pair the right business model with the right project,” Collier said, noting that recently announced pick-ups have all been unique partnerships. “I feel like we’re building assets with these people and giving them platforms that can compound the value of their shows. There’s a great deal of win-win in it for both of us.”
Fox’s Wednesday announcement of the launch of Sidecar as a “content development accelerator” in partnership with well-known producer Gail Berman plays into that goal, he said, and goes beyond just replacing the loss of its 20th Century Fox studio going to Disney.
“I think we’re really well positioned not just to build upon the strengths of a broadcast network but also bolt on capacity and capabilities without the overhead,” he said.
As for the outsized presence of Fox News that will only grow within the smaller New Fox, Collier said he’s not worried about famously liberal Hollywood names shunning the network.
“It’s a heated issue for a lot of people. I appreciate and respect those who speak up about it,” he said. “The bottom line is that the news division and the entertainment division are run completely separately.”
Overall, Collier said the uncoupling of Fox from a larger entity means it’s free to take risks and experiment—even as it leverages its vast content library with potential reboots and other creative launches. “Fox Entertainment is an open canvas upon which we’ll create new ways to do business,” he said. “It’s a startup company.”