Bert Salke to head Fox 21, Fox TV Studios merger

Fox 21, Fox Television Studios merge

Fox is keeping the consolidation trend going.

The company announced Thursday that it was combining Fox 21 and Fox Television Studios to form Fox 21 Television Studios, with veteran executive Bert Salke tapped as president of the newly formed entity.

The coupling of the two units had been expected.  In August, the former head of Fox TV Studios, David Madden, was tapped to oversee programming for Fox Broadcasting Co., which left a void at the television studio that produces high-profile dramas including FX's "The Americans" and USA Network's "Burn Notice."

Madden's appointment marked the first executive change since studio heads Gary Newman and Dana Walden became co-chairmen of the Fox Television Group. The Fox TV Group formed in July and combined Fox Broadcasting Company and 20th Century Fox Television. Salke's new position fills another piece to Fox's merging puzzle.

During his tenure as president at Fox 21, a position he took on in 2010,  Salke has overseen such notable projects as "Sons of Anarchy" and "Homeland."

Prior to his run at Fox, Salke was a partner in production company Brancato/Salke, which had been based at 20th TV before moving to ABC Studios (then Touchstone TV).

In a joint statement, Walden and Newman characterized Salke as "undeniably the best person to lead this new company."

“Bert Salke’s record speaks for itself,” Newman said. “He’s an enormously talented executive who has built Fox 21 into an industry leader, infused with an intense, distinctive brand that is reflected in every project he develops."

Mark Pearson, 20th Century Fox TV's executive for brand management and digital strategy, will help Salke in the transition, the statement said. The two will work together on integrating the two units' teams and developing a strategy for the new company.

Salke, in his statement, spoke of combining the best of the two companies to "help make the new studio the ‘go-to’ supplier of the most undeniable programming possible.”

Fox 21 was created in 2004 as the lower-cost production arm for alternative and scripted TV at 20th Century Fox TV.

The combined division will focus on developing and producing scripted and unscripted projects for all distribution platforms. The company will be headquarted in Santa Monica, at the office space that had previously been the home to Fox TV Studios.

The restructuring is not expected to result in a reduction of staff.

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