While the TV world has its eyes on upfronts, two of the biggest media entities are looking at potential cutbacks.
Multiple outlets are reporting that both Disney and Fox are expected to face significant employee losses, slated to go into effect next month. These layoffs are said to be largely contained to the film side, with many of the highest profile members no longer with the company coming from Fox’s marketing and distribution wings. Deadline is reporting that, despite some departures from the upper Fox distribution ranks, some remaining staffers will be brought on as part of Disney’s operations on both coasts.
Disney and Fox reached terms on a historic merger, finalized back in March that meant the acquisition of Fox and many of its assets, including its film division. That, in turn, has resulted in a number of projects being shelved or scrapped altogether, many with the shuttering of Fox 2000. Some have been reabsorbed into the broader Disney fold, like the upcoming releases “The Woman in the Window,” “Ad Astra,” and “Ford v. Ferrari” (directed by Joe Wright, James Gray, and James Mangold, respectively). Many others, in various stages of development, have been shopped at new distribution homes.
These developments would also come mere weeks after the company unveiled its ambitious strategy for its incoming streaming platform. Disney+, which will have access to a vast library of content from across the Disney and Fox families of networks and production companies, is scheduled to debut in November. It’s not the only recent streaming-related news for the company: On Tuesday, Disney finalized a long-rumored move that gave the company operational control of Hulu, in addition to its majority stakeholder interest as a result of acquiring Fox’s share.
Despite the landmark launch on the horizon for later this year, a number of positions with 21st Century Fox have overlapped with roles in the existing Disney framework. This, combined with Disney brass’ public statements on cutting back the number of Fox productions going forward, would seem to be the basis for some of this new round of firings.
IndieWire has reached out to Disney for comment.