20th Century Fox Restructures Film, Television UnitsJOHN HORN , Associated Press
Jul. 12, 1989 10:37 PM ET
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Joe Roth, the creative force behind leading independent filmmaker Morgan Creek Productions, has been appointed chairman of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. as part of a major restructuring, Fox Inc. announced Wednesday.
Roth will oversee all of Fox's worldwide motion picture activities and will be responsible for developing new movie properties. Fox says it wants to nearly triple its film output.
Fox also said it has created a new company, Twentieth Television Corp., to replace the film corporation's television production arm, which was called 20th Century Fox Television Production.
Harris Katleman, president the television production division, will serve as president of the new company.
The television arm produces the shows ''L.A. Law,'' ''Mr. Belvedere'' and ''Alien Nation,'' among others.
The moves were designed to separate the motion picture and television units, said Barry Diller, chairman of Fox Inc., a unit of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Ltd.
''The separation of our motion picture operations from our television production and distribution activities will provide the concentrated effort necessary to achieve our goal of distributing 24 to 30 motion pictures per year throughout the world,'' Diller said in a statement.
After finishing third among all studios in 1988, Fox is currently slumping at the national box office. With the weak showings of this year's ''Say Anything,'' ''The Fly II'' and ''Skin Deep,'' Fox is No. 7 of the eight major film studios, according to the trade newspaper Daily Variety. Fox now claims slightly more than 6 percent of 1989's box-office receipts.
Fox hopes that ''The Abyss,'' an expensive and much-delayed underwater adventure movie, will generate robust ticket sales when it opens next month.
Roth effectively replaces Leonard Goldberg, who resigned from Fox in early May to become an independent producer. Diller has been running the studio in the interim.
As president of Morgan Creek, Roth produced the films ''Dead Ringers,'' ''Young Guns,'' ''Skin Deep,'' ''Major League'' and ''Renegades.'' The first three films were distributed theatrically by Fox, as will be the comedy ''Coupe de Ville,'' which Roth just finished directing.
Roth leaves behind the Morgan Creek productions ''Nightbreed,'' ''Exorcist: 1990'' and ''Enemies, a Love Story,'' all of which should be released in coming months.
In a recent interview explaining the company's successful track record, Roth said, ''I don't want to get too big, too impersonal.''
James Robinson, Morgan Creek's chairman and a leading Subaru car salesman, said that the company will name a new head of production soon.
''Much of Morgan Creek's success is attributable to our association with Fox,'' Robinson said, ''and we now look forward to an even stronger working relationship with Fox.''