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Fox Promotes Salil Mehta To Head Up Newly-Created Gaming & VR Division

Deadline logo Deadline 1/19/2017 Ross A. Lincoln
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20th Century Fox is streamlining the overseeing of its video gaming, location-based entertainment, virtual and augmented reality productions through the newly-created FoxNext, and has named Salil Mehta as President of the new division, effective immediately.

Mehta joined Fox in 2013 and most recently served as President, Content Management for Twentieth Century Fox Film. In his new role, he’ll report jointly to Peter Rice, Chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group, and Stacey Snider, Chairman and CEO of Twentieth Century Fox Film.

Among other endeavors, FoxNext will work across Twentieth Century Fox Film and Fox Networks Group to oversee production of studio franchise VR experiences. These include already-announced productions associated with the Alien and Planet of the Apes brands; FoxNext will also work on commercialization efforts for Fox’s total VR strategy.

FoxNext will also combine the the company’s various video gaming groups into one new interactive unit, and oversee location-based entertainment business, including the development of the 20th Century Fox World theme park in Malaysia.

FoxNext emerged from the Fox Innovation Lab, which launched The Martian VR Experience in 2016, the company’s first commercial VR endeavor. As part of his new role, Mehta will join in the management of the Fox Innovation Lab as it broadens to support the company as a whole. FoxNext will also work closely on film studio projects with an advisory board made up of of Twentieth Century Fox Film executives Ted Gagliano, David Greenbaum and Mike Dunn.

“We’re excited by the power of new technologies to drive the art of storytelling forward and we know we’ve only scratched the surface,” said Rice. “Salil brings a strategic business vision and a deep understanding of new technologies allowing us to expand our creative capabilities.”

“Extending our storytelling to new platforms in new ways is a constant focus for us as we look to build more touch points with consumers every day,” Snider said. “Building on the momentum we’ve already seen in this area via the Fox Innovation Lab, FoxNext represents a natural next step in defining our long-term vision in this arena, and Salil is quite simply the perfect executive to build this group into what we know will be an industry leader.”

Reporting to Mehta are: Rick Phillips, newly appointed Executive Vice President of Fox Interactive; Greg Lombardo, Senior Vice President of Fox Location Based Entertainment; Brendan Handler, Senior Vice President of New Media and General Manager of FoxNext’s VR Studio; and Ted Schilowitz, Fox Futurist. Schilowitz will continue to advise Twentieth Century Fox Film’s Gagliano on new production technologies.

Prior to joining Fox Film, Mehta held several senior executive roles at NBCUniversal, most recently Chief Operating Officer of the company unit that included Bravo, Oxygen and Style, the Spanish-language broadcast network Telemundo; and NBCUniversal’s digital assets that include Fandango and Daily Candy. Mehta also served three years as President, Business Operations, Strategy and Development for NBCUniversal. Prior to NBCUniversal, he worked for 14 years in a number of roles at The Walt Disney Company.

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