New York -- News Corp. denied a report last week that
chairman Rupert Murdoch is looking to buy out Haim Saban's stake in Fox Family
Fox Family Channel is owned by Fox Family Worldwide Inc.,
which is equally owned by News Corp. and Saban Entertainment.
Last Tuesday, a story in USA Today reported that
Murdoch was close to a deal to buy out Saban's stake in Fox Family Channel for as
much as a whopping $1.8 billion.
The story claimed that Murdoch was unhappy with Fox
Family's ratings slide since its relaunch last August under Saban's management.
But spokesmen for both Murdoch and Saban said the story wasn't true and denied that
Murdoch was buying out the joint venture.
"We're very happy with the channel," News
Corp. spokesman Jim Platt said.
Saban, chairman of Fox Family Worldwide, also issued his
"Neither News Corp. nor I have any plans to change the
ownership of Fox Family Worldwide," the statement said. "I am delighted to be
partners with Rupert Murdoch and the News Corp. team, who are pleased with the growth of
Fox Family Worldwide and its core businesses."
Platt also pointed out that "lots of steps are being
taken" to improve Fox Family's ratings, and Saban said the same.
This fall, for example, Fox Family is scrapping much of its
primetime programming and replacing it with shows that are more adult-oriented, rather
than targeted toward kids and teens.
The network also just hired a new programming chief, Rob
Sorcher, from Cartoon Network.