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TMZ co-founder Harvey Levin. Photo: Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

TMZ, the online tabloid co-founded and operated by Harvey Levin, has been sold to Fox Entertainment, in a deal reportedly valued around $50 million.

Why it matters: The deal points to Fox Corp.'s ambitions to include more entertainment programming across its digital and TV channels.

  • It also points to ongoing efforts by WarnerMedia's parent AT&T to shed non-core assets, including media. AT&T agreed to spin off WarnerMedia earlier this year. It successfully completed the spinoff of its video business this summer.

Details: Levin will remain with TMZ as its managing editor, Fox said in a statement, and will continue to oversee day-to-day operations for the company.

  • He will report to Rob Wade, FOX Entertainment's president of alternative entertainment and specials.
  • FOX will own and operate all TMZ-branded channels, including its events, digital and TV programs.

Between the lines: TMZ and Fox Entertainment already shared a close relationship.

  • TMZ's syndicated TV magazine programs, TMZ and TMZ LIVE, already air on 18 network affiliates owned by FOX Television Stations. Beginning immediately, Fox will run all sales and marketing for both shows, which have both been renewed through the 2022-23 TV season. TMZ's sports programs already air on Fox's sports network, Fox Sports 1.
  • TMZ has already produced several specials for FOX Entertainment, including a program about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
  • The deal includes TMZ's celebrity and culture outlet, TooFab.com, and its flagship outlet, TMZ.com, which Fox says will be a "significant expansion of FOX's digital footprint."

What they're saying: "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," said Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corporation, in a statement announcing the deal.

  • The Information first reported about deal talks between the two companies earlier this summer.

Go deeper

Manchin signals he's against changing filibuster to pass voting rights bill

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) signaled Sunday that he is not in favor of reforming the filibuster to provide a clear pathway for Senate Democrats to pass voting rights and election reform legislation.

Why it matters: Manchin's remarks on "Fox News Sunday" come after several failed attempts by Democrats to pass voting bills in the gridlocked Senate.

Updated 47 mins ago - Health

The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Omicron's blitz around the world has underscored the need for a new arsenal of COVID vaccines and therapeutics, experts say — and that may require an effort akin to Operation Warp Speed 2.0.

Why it matters: The virus will continue to evolve, potentially in a way that further escapes vaccine protection, and the best way to prevent more global disruptions to everyday life is to have tools ready to combat whatever comes next.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Microsoft's metaverse maneuvering

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Microsoft is pitching investors and regulators that its $68 billion Activision Blizzard deal is all about the metaverse, that nebulous buzzword taking the tech world by storm.

What they're saying: By my colleague Stephen Totilo's count, Nadella used the word "metaverse" at least five times in his conference call discussing the deal. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick mentioned the metaverse four times, while Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer used the term twice.