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Fox Cable Promotes Gardner

5/02/2006 5:10 PM Eastern

Fox Cable Networks Group promoted Lindsay Gardner to the newly created post of president of affiliate sales and marketing, overseeing all distribution activities across a fast-growing portfolio of 28 networks, officials said Tuesday.

Gardner, 45, formerly Fox Cable’s executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing, will continue to report to Fox Networks Group CEO Tony Vinciquerra. Gardner’s department has more than 100 people, with more than one-half of them out in the field, in 14 cities across the country.

Michael Hopkins has been promoted to fill Gardner’s former slot, while Michael Biard was elevated from VP of national accounts of affiliate sales and marketing to the post of senior VP of affiliate sales and marketing, reporting to Hopkins.

In an interview Tuesday, Gardner said his one of his priorities this year is expanding new-media offerings -- the kinds of services that his affiliates are clamoring for.

“It’s keeping up with the increasing demands of our customers,” he added. “All the distributors want more HD. They want VOD [video-on-demand]. They want line extensions of our television brands into the broadband space that they can use.”

In addition, cable operators such as Time Warner Cable, Comcast Corp. and Cox Communications Inc. “all want to do new things in terms of video-on-demand, for both broadcast and cable,” according to Gardner.

A veteran of Cox and Viewer’s Choice, Gardner has served as Fox Cable’s executive VP of affiliate sales since May 1999, leading all distribution and affiliate-marketing activities on behalf of FX, FSN, 15 Fox Sports-owned-and-operated regional sports networks, Speed Channel, National Geographic Channel, NGC HD, Fox Movie Channel, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Reality, Fuel, Fox Sports en Español and Fox College Sports Atlantic, Central and Pacific.

“We’ve launched an average of one new network in each of the past five consecutive years, and Lindsay and his organization are key to that success,” Vinciquerra said in a prepared statement. “In little more than five years, Fox Cable Networks has grown from a relatively small array of modest networks into one of the industry’s most diverse and influential groups.”

Gardner and his distribution team also work closely with Fox Television Stations on maximizing the market value of their own local programming and the Fox Network service among cable and satellite providers.

“The portfolio has grown dramatically in the seven years since this management team has been in place,” Gardner said, lauding his staff as “probably the best and most stable affiliate-sales and marketing group in the industry.”

And under their watch and Vinciquerra’s leadership, Gardner added, “Our affiliate revenue had grown dramatically. The group in seven years has more than doubled in size.”

Since 2001, Fox Networks Group has introduced NGC, Speed, Fuel, Fox College, Fox Reality and NGC HD. Only six new networks in the history of cable and satellite television have surpassed 20 million homes in their first year, and parent News Corp. is responsible for four of them (FX, Fox News Channel, NGC and Fox Reality).

Hopkins, 37, has been senior VP of affiliate sales since 2003 and, before that, was VP of national accounts at Fox Cable. He leads the unit’s national-accounts team in negotiating and managing distribution deals with the cable and satellite distributors. Hopkins likewise supervises HDTV, nonlinear and alternative distribution activities on behalf of all Fox Cable networks, including on-demand and emerging video-over-Internet-protocol services.

Biard, 37, has been VP of national accounts since 2002 and, prior to that, served as VP of affiliate business affairs at Fox Cable. He will continue to work closely with Hopkins in managing various national distribution accounts and will similarly contribute to Fox Cable’s review of industry issues and regulatory strategy.

Fox Cable Networks, a unit of Fox Networks Group, is a wholly owned division of News Corp.

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