Allison Wallach was named Executive Vice President, Head of FOX Entertainment’s in-house unscripted studio, FOX Alternative Entertainment (FAE), in February 2019. In her role, she is responsible for identifying, developing and producing unscripted programming both for FOX Network and third-party platforms. Among the series Wallach oversees are the culture-piercing singing competition, The Masked Singer; the avatar singing competition Alter Ego, this season’s #1 new reality program and featuring Alanis Morissette, will.i.am, Nick Lachey, Grimes and Rocsi Diaz; the music challenge series I Can See Your Voice, hosted and executive-produced by Ken Jeong, and last season’s #1 new entertainment program; the guessing game-meets-baking competition Crime Scene Kitchen , hosted by Joel McHale (with Fly on the Wall Entertainment) and Summer 2021’s #1 new series; Name That Tune, featuring Jane Krakowski and Randy Jackson; FOX’S NEW YEAR’S EVE TOAST & ROAST; and the upcoming competition series Next Level Chef, the next evolution in cooking competitions, hosted by Gordon Ramsay and produced with Studio Ramsay Global; and Domino Masters, with Eric Stonestreet hosting.In addition, FAE recently produced the variety series The Big Deal for Ireland’s Virgin Media Television, marking the studio’s first-third party program.
Tell us more about the International Fund, is it open to everybody in the US and Europe? How does it work?
This fund is open to the international market; and is yet another part of FOX Entertainment’s nimble strategy to innovate and grow its business by developing and owning IP. It also delivers the opportunity to secure much more effective audience data to ascertain the strength of a format, while also benefitting from the cost efficiencies of shooting around the world.
The fund works in a number of different ways. We will approach international networks with ideas that originate in-house, networks can come to us with their concepts and production companies can come to us with series they have effectively “sold,” but the buyer would like a partner to co-finance or fully finance. The key factor is that every project needs to have the ability to work on FOX here in the U.S.
Each project’s deal will be dependent on its format, partner/s, territory, level of funding, etc. FOX Alternative Entertainment will own and control each show, and its backend will be commensurate with its financing. Distribution rights for each project will depend on its respective deal. FAE will work with the originating network, enabling our partners to control tape in their domestic territory. However, anything outside of that will be controlled by FOX.
What’s your strategy for the future: you just announced a first look deal with WonWoo Park the creator of The Masked Singer…
Formats clearly are – and will always be -- an important component of the unscripted space. When you look back at the television space over the past 25 years or so, unscripted formats, in particular those that originated outside the U.S., have helped shape the industry into what it is today. I’m proud to say FOX, with its rebel roots, has played a large part of this evolution.
While we are laser-focused on identifying new and fresh concepts that originate in America, there is no denying some of the most talented producers working today, like WonWoo and numerous others, are from the international market. Just think of the ideas and auspices who have not yet been discovered. The opportunities, really, are infinite and that’s a big reason why we launched the International Unscripted Fund, why we’re partnering with WonWoo and why we recently joined forces with Gordon Ramsay to launch Studio Ramsay Global – all strategically designed to broaden our footprint and scope, nurture new voices and deliver that next big hit for FOX, as well as for other platforms across the globe.
Is the unscripted and original formats your next step to enter into the International market? Last summer you launched Alter Ego and at MIPCOM everybody was talking about this trend…
Unscripted and original formats are yet another important step in our strategy. “The Masked Singer” continues to perform well, not only here in the U.S., but dozens of territories. The “Alter Ego” format, which ranks as the #1 new unscripted series in the U.S., has been warmly received by buyers and “I Can See Your Voice” continues to post strong tape and format sales. Last summer, FAE successfully produced the variety series “The Big Deal” with BiggerStage for Virgin Media Television in Ireland, marking our first-third party program. With this momentum, bolstered by the International Fund and FAE’s continued success with “The Masked Singer,” “I Can See Your Voice,” “Alter Ego,” “Name That Tune” and our newest Gordon Ramsay series, “Next Level Chef,” just to name a few, coupled with our recent acquisition of TMZ, FOX will continue to grow in the unscripted arena.