L.A. Times Reporter Ben Fritz to Leave for WSJ (Exclusive)

The film business reporter is the latest in a string of departures from the Times' entertainment section

Los Angeles Times film reporter Ben Fritz is leaving the paper, a Times spokeswoman told TheWrap.

The Los Angeles TimesFritz, who has long covered the business of Hollywood and videogames, is taking a job at the Wall Street Journal, as the lead business film reporter, according to an individual with knowledge of the hire.

He will replace Erica Orden, who is moving back to the East Coast from Los Angeles to take over the Journal's Albany coverage.

'It's correct that Ben is joining the Journal," Sara Blask, a Journal spokeswoman, told TheWrap in an email on Thursday. "His start date is February 11."

Nancy Sullivan, vice president of communications for the Times, said the paper would replace him in the coming weeks.

"Yes, Ben Fritz will be leaving the Times in the next few weeks," Sullivan said in an email to TheWrap. "We’ll be announcing a terrific new reporter who’ll be joining our entertainment team at that time.”

Fritz is the latest in a string of recent departures from the Times' arts and entertainment desk.

Assistant managing editor for arts & entertainment Sallie Hofmeister left in June. Then, longtime film writer Patrick Goldstein, who wrote the "Big Picture" column, announced his departure in August. A month later, Geoff Boucher, who founded the popular "Hero Complex" fanboy blog, resigned and joined Entertainment Weekly.

Other entertainment section departures include arts and entertainment editor Craig Turner and Nightlife Editor Dean Kuipers. A year ago, TheWrap hired the Times' former online arts and entertainment editor, Lisa Fung, as its first executive editor.

The Tribune Company, the Times' Chicago-based corporate parent, emerged from a four-year bankruptcy on Dec. 31, marking yet further uncertainty in the Times newsroom as the media giant is widely expected to be preparing its newspaper holdings for sale.

A Swarthmore College graduate, Fritz, 35, previously worked at Variety, where he served as a videogame critic and a film business reporter.

He also co-founded the political rhetoric blog Spinsanity before publishing his bestselling book "All the President's Spin." 

He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Alicia Kirk, a television producer and writer.