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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

Dems defend Biden over Afghan withdrawal

A screengrab from a new ad by two pro-Biden entities, VoteVets and Unite the Country.

Deep-pocketed Democratic groups are defending President Biden's Afghanistan withdrawal with a nationwide six-figure ad campaign, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: While the president hasn't wavered from his decision to remove all U.S. troops, the new TV ads indicate even some of his allies see it as a potential vulnerability amid universal Republican criticism and heavy media scrutiny.

30 mins ago - World

Blinken, Austin call out China at event on Australia security pact

Blinken and Austin. Photo: Andrew Harnik/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin condemned China's "aggressive" and "destabilizing" behavior at a press conference Thursday, as they inaugurated a major new trilateral security partnership with Australia and the U.K.

Why it matters: China was not explicitly mentioned in President Biden's announcement of the AUKUS alliance, through which the U.S. and the U.K. will help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines as part of a broader effort to ensure "peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific."

2020 was the deadliest year for environmental defenders

Engineer Sandra Cuéllar is one of many Colombians who've gone missing or been killed for their environmental activism. Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images

Latin America and the Caribbean is the deadliest region for environmental defenders, a violent record that has global repercussions.

Why it matters: The region has several of the most biodiverse areas of the planet, but they are constantly threatened by logging, mining or aquifer overexploitation.