Fox Entertainment has acquired WarnerMedia’s TMZ, the celebrity gossip site and TV shows operated by Harvey Levin, the companies said Monday.
Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but TMZ, which is best known for breaking news on celebrity gossip and deaths, is being valued at less than $50 million, people familiar with the matter told The Post.
Fox is already well-acquainted with TMZ’s business, which includes the popular website TMZ.com and several TV 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 that is carried by the Fox Sports 1 cable network.
TMZ co-founder and managing editor Levin has also produced shows for the Fox News Channel. According to the companies, Levin, who launched TMZ in 2005 and serves as host of its TV shows, will remain in charge of operations.
In a statement, Levin said being under the Fox roof will create new opportunities to grow TMZ. “We couldn’t be more charged,’’ he added.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Levin’s agreement with WarnerMedia was expiring and he wasn’t expected to stay on if TMZ had remained there. TMZ’s reporting on movie and TV stars with whom the WarnerMedia empire had business with had created tensions, the report said.
TMZ won’t run into that problem at Fox, which produces mainly sports and reality shows like “The Masked Singer” and “Hell’s Kitchen” with Gordon Ramsay.
“TMZ has been an impactful program for our FOX television stations and broadcast partners for many years,” said Lachlan Murdoch, Fox Corp.’s executive chairman and chief executive.
Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier added, “We see great potential building upon 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 put a greater emphasis on selling off non-core businesses to raise cash in order to pay down debt and make new investments in 5G technology.
Aside from the Discovery deal, in the last year alone, AT&T has sold its animé streaming business Crunchyroll to Sony for about $1 billion, and it spun off its DirectTV business, selling a 30 percent stake to private equity firm TPG.