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Fox unveils deal with “Masked Singer” creator, “Joe Millionaire” revival, Q1 results

Wonwoo Park signs first-look deal with Fox Alternative Entertainment Fox Alternative Entertainment announced on Thursday (Nov. 4) that it has entered into an exclusive first-look development deal with Wonwoo Park, the ...
November 4, 2021

Wonwoo Park signs first-look deal with Fox Alternative Entertainment

Fox Alternative Entertainment announced on Thursday (Nov. 4) that it has entered into an exclusive first-look development deal with Wonwoo Park, the creator of smash format The Masked Singer.

Under the terms of the agreement, Fox and Park’s Seoul-based production company, dl turn, will jointly develop series for global territories and the U.S. market. Currently, the two sides are developing an international format for the Korean talent-competition series Lotto Singer, where viewers can win cash by correctly betting on contestants’ performances. The series, from Seoul Broadcasting System’s content hub FormatEast, was created by Park and aired on MBN last year.

“Wonwoo’s ability to identify and develop concepts that are unique in premise and universal in appeal makes him one of the most innovative producers in the business, and we are excited to see where this partnership will take us,” said Allison Wallach, executive vice president and head of Fox Alternative Entertainment, in a news release.

Park added: “Korea had long been an unnoticed market, but over the last few years formats such as The King of Masked Singer have been sold all over the world. Many K-Pop singers are massively popular around the world, and Korean production companies clearly have the ability to produce high-efficiency programming. I expect this collaboration with Fox to create more hits; and our team here at dI turn is ready.”

The Masked Singer is currently in its sixth season on Fox and is the top primetime entertainment series in the U.S. The format has also been adapted in more than 60 countries.

The agreement comes after Fox Alternative Entertainment launched an international unscripted format fund to identify intellectual property for the global market, last month.

Fox revives Joe Millionaire for 2022 reboot

Meanwhile, the U.S. broadcaster has also announced plans to revive one of its most popular dating series of the past. Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer will premiere in January from Fox Alternative Entertainment, executive produced by SallyAnn Salsano of 495 Productions and Sarah Howell.

The series offers a new take on the original Joe Millionaire that first premiered in 2003. The new format will include two single men, but only one is a millionaire while the other is an “average Joe” with little to his name, while 20 women will compete to date both of them, having no idea which one is rich.

The series will also be available on Fox Entertainment’s streaming platform, Tubi, after its linear telecast.

The original Joe Millionaire is touted by Fox as the highest-rated and most-watched debut season of an unscripted series in the past 20 years, with the first-season finale remaining its highest-rated unscripted entertainment series telecast in that same timespan, excluding the NFL.

Fox releases Q1 earnings report

On the corporate front, parent company Fox Corp. reported quarterly revenues of US$3.05 billion on Wednesday (Nov. 3) in its Q1 report, a 12% rise from the prior year quarter.

The company’s quarterly income dropped to $708 million compared to $1.12 billion in the prior year quarter. Fox reported that decline was primarily due to the absence of a $462 million gain in that prior year quarter associated with a cash reimbursement it received from Disney for Fox’s prepayment of its share of tax liabilities from Disney’s divestiture of certain Twenty-First Century Fox assets.

Meanwhile, affiliate revenues jumped 9%, with 14% growth in the company’s television segment and 5% growth in cable network programming. “Other” revenues increased 15%, led by the return of sports sublicensing revenues in cable network programming, which had been impacted last year by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Advertising revenues experienced growth as well, rising 17%, primarily due to Tubi’s continued growth and the return of a full schedule of live events at Fox Sports, and more scripted programming at Fox Entertainment, compared to postponements and cancellations due to COVID-19 in the prior year quarter.

In the cable network programming segment, advertising revenue reported a $12 million or 4% increase, driven by additional live events at the national sports networks, primarily from a full schedule of college football, as well as higher digital revenues at Fox News Media. Cable network programming overall reported quarterly segment revenues of $1.42 billion, a 7% increase from the prior year’s quarter, with affiliate revenues increasing $53 million, a 5% rise, thanks to contractual price increases, and Other revenues increasing $26 million, a 49% rise, due to sports sublicensing revenues and pay-per-view boxing.

Television reported quarterly segment revenues of $1,58 billion, an increase of $231 million or 17%. Driving this segment’s increase was a 22% rise in advertising revenue due to Tubi’s growth, a full schedule of college football, the MLB All-Star Game and more scripted programming. Affiliate revenues also increased 14% or $81 million.

Executive chairman and CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement: “We have made a strong start to the 2022 fiscal year with broad-based operating momentum led by the return of a full slate of live events at Fox Sports, ratings leadership at Fox News and exceptional progress at Tubi. As audiences migrate to live news, sports and streaming, it underscores the strategy and priorities that have defined our short history at Fox.”

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