AT&T In Talks To Sell TMZ To Fox: Report

AT&T Inc. T is conducting negotiations with Fox Corp FOX FOXA for the acquisition of WarnerMedia’s celebrity news and gossip site TMZ.

What Happened: According to a Deadline report, a potential sale of TMZ would be the latest move by AT&T to focus on its telecommunications business while jettisoning non-core assets, most notably its $43 billion transaction to merge WarnerMedia’s assets with Discovery Communications DISCA DISCK DISCB.

TMZ is not cited by AT&T as being part of the Discovery transaction. AT&T owns CNN, HBO, Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT and the Warner Bros. studio, among other assets.

Related Link: Disney Cancels Planned Scarlett Johansson Feature 'Tower Of Terror' In Wake Of Salary Dispute Lawsuit: Report

Why It Matters: TMZ launched in 2005 as a collaboration between AOL and Telepictures, a division of Warner Bros. Initially focused as an online celebrity-focused news site, it branched into a syndicated “TMZ On TV” program that is broadcast on Fox stations and conducts celebrity-spotting tours in Hollywood.

Over the years, the program generated controversy for its coverage, most notably in February 2020 when it broke the news of Kobe Bryant’s death before his family was notified of his death in a helicopter crash.

And on one memorable occasion, TMZ was embarrassed for having a scoop without realizing it — while approaching Benicio Del Toro outside of a Los Angeles restaurant for an interview in 2012, the TMZ failed to recognize the actor was in the company of the notoriously reclusive director Terrence Malick, who had never been previously captured on television. It wasn’t until after the segment aired that other media sites identified Malick, who was clearly amused that the TMZ crew didn’t recognize him.

Photo: Steven Lek / Wikimedia Commons.

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