UPDATE from Ontario Film Office Los Angeles Rep – November 17, 2017

Although the media continues to be overwhelmed with new – and important – allegations of sexual misconduct in the film and TV industry, I think the relatively smaller headlines regarding the future of Fox’s movie and TV studios are just as significant.

Following reports last week that Disney was circling, the Los Angeles Times reported this week on Fox’s annual meeting, during which Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch was quick to reassure shareholders once again that the company is equipped to compete in a rapidly consolidating media landscape.

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But just a day later the Times was also reporting that Comcast Corp. has joined the pursuit of Fox’s entertainment assets and has expressed interest in acquiring Fox’s Los Angeles-based movie studio, sports networks, cable channels and its vast international operations. As reported below, other bidders also appear to be circling Fox, including mobile phone giant Verizon and possibly Amazon.com Inc.



As I wrote above, fallout in the industry from multiple sexual misconduct allegations is ongoing. This week legal woes mounted for the Weinstein Company. As reported in the Times below, the company was hit with a class-action lawsuit on behalf of dozens of women accusing co-founder Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, battery and lewd conduct.



Now that the Weinstein Company has been named in a class-action lawsuit, there is speculation that many of Hollywood’s top talent agencies may face similar legal challenges. As detailed in the Hollywood Reporter below, legal experts say agents have a fiduciary duty to clients — regardless of where they fall in the agency pecking order — and now could face legal exposure for failing to represent them properly.



While the state of New York is considering legislation that prohibits any company from receiving tax breaks if they knew, or should have known, about sexual harassment and failed to respond, Sweden has taken it a step further. As detailed in the Hollywood Reporter below, the Swedish Film Institute (SFI) is looking to become the first public funding body to require production companies to undergo sexual conduct education in order to qualify for film subsidies.



Diversity still continues to be a hot-button issue and the Directors Guild of America has released a study revealing that there are still miles to go on that front. As detailed in the Hollywood Reporter below, ethnic and gender diversity among episodic TV directors showed upticks of 3 to 4 percentage points, but over three-quarters of the nearly 4,500 scripted episodes analyzed were directed by Caucasians and a similar proportion by men.



Finally this week, the recent news that Paramount Pictures’ $1 billion deal with with China’s Huahua Media had been scrapped was just the latest  in a year has seen a dramatic falloff in Chinese money pouring into America’s film and TV industry. As the LA Times reports below, China’s retreat fits a recurring pattern of foreign investors who come to Hollywood with big ambitions, only to stumble.