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Disney ups its Fox bid to $71.3 billion in response to Comcast offer

Disney has officially upped its offer for the purchase of 21st Century Fox. It’s now offering to purchase the entertainment giant’s film and TV assets at a price of £38 per share, or roughly £71.3 billion, which is a drastic increase from the company’s original £52.4 billion deal that valued Fox at £28 per share.

It’s a direct counter to Comcast, which tried to swoop in earlier this month with a £65 billion, all-cash offer to top Disney’s original bid by offering £35 per share. In addition to the increased price, Disney’s new offer allows 21st Century Fox stockholders to choose to receive their chunk of the sale in the form of either cash or Disney stock now (subject to 50/50 proration), which may undercut the all-cash appeal of Comcast’s offer.

Fox’s board of directors was originally scheduled to vote on the Disney deal on July 10th, but the company has announced that it will be postponing that meeting to an as yet unannounced future date to give shareholders the chance to consider Disney’s upped bid.

This will also presumably offer Comcast a chance to decide whether or not it wants to up the ante in what could be an extended bidding war for 21st Century Fox’s assets.

Whoever ends up with 21st Century Fox will gain control of a huge chunk of the entertainment industry.

Up for grabs is Twentieth Century Fox Television and Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, and Fox 2000 film production studios, augmenting either Disney’s massive media portfolio or Comcast’s NBCUniversal with tons of new TV shows and movies, as well as a controlling share in Hulu.

Not included in the sale is Fox News and Fox Sports, which would remain under the control of a “New Fox,” as would the publicly broadcast over-the-air Fox channels. (Disney already owns ABC, and Comcast owns NBC.)

As of now, it would seem that the momentum is back in Disney’s court, at least according to a statement from Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox. “We are extremely proud of the businesses we have built at 21st Century Fox, and firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace at a dynamic time for our industry,” said Murdock. “We remain convinced that the combination of 21CF’s iconic assets, brands and franchises with Disney’s will create one of the greatest, most innovative companies in the world.”

Disclosure: Comcast is an investor in Vox Media, The Verge‘s parent company.

Interactive Game Shows Headed to Facebook Watch

Facebook’s YouTube competitor is getting some new game show content. The social network on Monday detailed three new, interactive game shows headed to Facebook Watch[1] in the coming weeks, as well as two new features aimed at making videos on the platform more interactive. Created in partnership with Insider[2], Confetti is a live, daily interactive game show that will challenge viewers to “answer pop culture trivia questions alongside — and with the help of — their friends,” according to a post[3] on Facebook’s media blog.

Outside Your Bubble, developed in partnership with BuzzFeed News, “challenges contestants to step outside their ‘bubble’ and reach across the cultural divide to guess what their opponents on the other side are really thinking.” Finally, What’s in The Box, created in partnership with Fresno, is a live game show with a simple premise: correctly guess the contents of a closed box to win prizes. Meanwhile, polling and gamification are also coming to Facebook Watch. Polling lets broadcasters quickly gather opinions from their audience during live and on-demand videos.

Meanwhile, with the new gamification feature, broadcasters will be able to pose questions to their audience during live streams, and viewers who answer incorrectly will be eliminated. “With these tools, our partners can add a range of new interactive features to videos such as: polls, quiz questions, challenges, and more,” Facebook wrote. “These can all be used within an individual video or to create a standalone game show. We’re giving creators a blank canvas to allow them to do what they do best — create! — and we can’t wait to see how they innovate.”

Creators who are interested in getting early access to these new features can head here[4] and fill out the form.

References

  1. ^ Facebook Watch (uk.pcmag.com)
  2. ^ Insider (www.thisisinsider.com)
  3. ^ post (www.facebook.com)
  4. ^ head here (www.facebook.com)

Star Trek: Discovery showrunner’s new five-year deal could bring Patrick Stewart back to the franchise

After several years of tumult, Star Trek: Discovery — and the greater Star Trek TV empire — may finally be getting some stability: CBS Television Studios has signed Discovery‘s recently promoted showrunner Alex Kurtzman to a five-year deal that will put him in charge of all TV Trek projects for the foreseeable future, via The Hollywood Reporter. (We’d make a five-year mission joke, but Verge readers deserve better.)

In addition to Discovery, CBS reportedly has multiple Star Trek shows already in development for Kutzman to oversee. Per Variety, these include a Starfleet Academy show from Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz (who previously created Dynasty, Gossip Girl, and Marvel’s Runaways), a limited series based on the Wrath of Khan story (sigh), as well as another limited series and an animated series. Further details are still being kept under wraps.

The Hollywood Reporter has another, even more intriguing rumor to add to the pile: a show from Kurtzman and former Discovery executive producer Akiva Goldsman that would see the return of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Patrick Stewart to the franchise, as fan-favorite Captain Jean-Luc Picard. It’s unclear whether this is one of the four shows counted by Variety.

But before anyone gets too excited, CBS has stressed that the deal is still in the works and may not happen at all.

The news comes just days after the long-beleaguered show’s last upheaval, when previous showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg were fired midway through production of the upcoming season 2 as a result of budget disputes and complaints of abuse from multiple writers on the series. Berg and Harberts were already the second set of showrunners for Discovery. (They took over from original showrunner Brian Fuller, who stepped down after multiple delays to focus on other projects.) In the wake of Herberts and Berg’s firing, Kurtzman was named their successor.

Hopefully, Kurtzman being locked into a five-year contract will settle the dust a bit for Discovery and potentially open the door for an even brighter future for Trek on TV.

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