'Modern Family' producer threatens to leave Fox over 'disgust' with news division

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'Modern Family.'
'Modern Family.' Credit: ABC

"Modern Family" co-creator Steve Levitan threatened to leave 21st Century Fox's TV studio, saying that he's "disgusted" by the company's ties to Fox News.

Levitan, who serves as executive producer of the hit sitcom, said on Twitter that he would see "Modern Family" through to the end and then set up shop elsewhere.

But he softened his stance in a statement provided by his agent, according to Variety. Saying he had great admiration for his colleagues at Fox, Levitan said he would "take some time to see where those people land, and at that point, make a decision about my future."

Tensions between Fox News and the company's entertainment operations have flared in recent days, fueled by concerns about how the news network is covering immigration. Over the weekend, "Family Guy" co-creator Seth MacFarlane said Fox News made him "embarrassed to work for this company."

Paul Feig, who made two films for the Fox film studio, also slammed Fox News for supporting the White House and its handling of immigrant children. The Trump administration is detaining children in 17 states, including more than 2,000 taken from their parents after they crossed the U.S. border illegally.

Fox, based in New York, declined to comment.

"Modern Family," a mockumentary-style sitcom set in suburban Los Angeles, is in its ninth season and has won more than 20 prime-time Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. A 10th season has been planned as the final one, its creators said previously. The show is broadcast by Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, but it's made by the 20th Century Fox studio.

Judd Apatow, the producer and writer behind "Knocked Up" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," also has criticized the news channel on Twitter—and called on others in the entertainment industry to speak out against it.

The uproar comes as Fox prepares to sell off most of its operations to Disney, including the studio that makes "Modern Family." Fox News, along with Fox's broadcast network and sports cable channels FS1 and FS2, will be spun off into a business being called "New Fox." But the deal is still in flux. Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable company, has made its own bid for the Fox assets.

Levitan, 56, pointed to comments by host Laura Ingraham that child-detention centers were "essentially summer camps."

"I'm disgusted to work at a company that has anything whatsoever to do with Fox News," he tweeted on Monday.

—Anousha Sakoui, Bloomberg News

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