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How key Fox executives could fare after sale to Disney

Walt Disney Co.'s $52.4-billion deal to buy much of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox media company could prompt a brain drain of some high-level Fox executives in the coming months. Here is a look at some of the key players and how their roles might change after a sale to Disney, which is no expected to close until 2019.

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POWER PLAYERS

Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox
Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox (Evan Agostini / Associated Press)
Rupert Murdoch

Executive chairman, 21st Century Fox

The brash billionaire who built a media empire is expected to focus his energies on Fox News and other remaining assets that will be spun off and possibly folded into his other company, News Corp. But the elder Murdoch may also push for his son James to have a senior role at Disney.


Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman, 21st Century Fox
Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman, 21st Century Fox (21st Century Fox)
Lachlan Murdoch

Executive chairman, 21st Century Fox

He may wind up running the Fox assets that do not go to Disney, including Fox News, the Fox broadcast network and national sports channels. Or, he could focus his energy on running the publishing company News Corp., owner of the Wall Street Journal.


James Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox
James Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox (Tony Barson / Getty Images)
James Murdoch

Chief executive, 21st Century Fox

For now, his new role remains a big question mark. Some have speculated he might join Disney and run its international operations, possibly making him a candidate to succeed Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger, whose contract was extended through 2021. In a conference call Thursday, Iger said James Murdoch will be “integral to helping us integrate” the 21st Century Fox assets into Disney. "We will continue to discuss whether there’s a role for him or not," Iger said.


Stacey Snider, chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox Film
Stacey Snider, chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox Film (Charley Gallay / Getty Images)
Stacey Snider

Chairman and CEO, 20th Century Fox Film

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Some Fox insiders wonder if there will be a place for Snider at Disney, whose film studios are overseen by Alan Horn. Snider, who has been running the Fox film studio for a little more than a year, could eventually land a job at another media company.


John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions
John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
John Landgraf

CEO, FX Networks and FX Productions

Disney will want to keep Landgraf, one of the industry’s most successful television executives. In the last decade, he’s presided over a series of hits at FX, including “The Americans,” “Sons of Anarchy” and “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”


Gary Newman, chairman and CEO of Fox Television Group
Gary Newman, chairman and CEO of Fox Television Group (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Gary Newman

Chairman and CEO, Fox Television Group

The respected TV executive has built 20th Century Fox TV into a powerhouse, but the sale to Disney could end his nearly 20-year partnership with Dana Walden. Or Disney could tap the duo to help bolster ABC.


Peter Rice, chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group
Peter Rice, chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group (Amanda Edwards / WireImage)
Peter Rice

Chairman and CEO, Fox Networks Group

Fox’s top television executive is known to be close to the Murdoch family, but he could see his portfolio slashed unless he finds a home at Disney.


Eric Shanks, president and COO of Fox Sports
Eric Shanks, president and COO of Fox Sports (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)
Eric Shanks

President and COO, Fox Sports

He’s likely to stay at Fox because the company is keeping its national sports networks, FS1 and FS2, and probably will make sports a bigger part of the broadcast network.


Dana Walden, chairman and CEO of Fox Television Group
Dana Walden, chairman and CEO of Fox Television Group (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Dana Walden

Chairman and CEO, Fox Television Group

Walden, who has led Fox Television Group with Gary Newman since 1999, may be one of the most sought-after TV executives around. After helping build the Fox TV studio into a hit-making machine, she could move to Disney, Amazon Studios or some other plum perch.


Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations
Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations (Jim Spellman / WireImage)
Jack Abernethy

CEO, Fox Television Stations

He’s one of Rupert Murdoch’s key lieutenants who took on a more prominent position after Roger Ailes was ousted last year as chairman and CEO of Fox News. He will play a key role in trying to sustain the Fox broadcast network as it potentially pivots to a news and sports outlet.

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