News Corp., as expected, has restructured its Fox Networks Group Operations.
In what the media conglomerate said was a move aimed at better aligning its creative executive leadership suite, Fox Broadcasting Co., FX Networks, comprising FX and Fox Movie Channel, will be directed by Peter Rice, chairman of entertainment for the Fox Networks Group.
On the sports side, David Hill, chairman and CEO of Fox Sports, will have oversight for all operations, including Fox Sports, 19 regional sports networks, Fox Soccer Channel and its premium spin-off Fox Soccer Plus, Speed, Fuel TV and Fox Sports en Espanol, as well as the joint ventures, the Big Ten Network and Stats, LLC.
Both Rice, who was named chairman of entertainment in March 2009 when he was given oversight of Fox Broadcasting Co., and Hill, who has been with the company since 1993 when he created Fox Sports after the acquisition of NFL TV rights, will continue to report to Fox Networks Group chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra.
Under the new organizational grid, John Landgraf, president and general Manager of FX Networks, will report to Rice. Relative to sports, Randy Freer, president of Fox Sports Networks; David Nathanson, executive vice president and general manager of Fox Soccer Channel; Hunter Nickell, president of Speed; Dermot McQuarrie and Raul De Quesada, senior vice president and co-assistant general managers of Fox Sports en Espanol; and CJ Olivares, senior vice president and general manager of Fuel TV; will all report to Hill.
Rich Battista, who has been serving as president of Fox National Cable Networks, is in discussions about a potential new role within the company.
The restructuring continues the changes in upper management ranks that have ensued at Fox since Peter Chernin announced last February that he would not renew his position as COO, the No. 2 position at News behind chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch.
The following month, Vinciquerra, who had been overseeing the cable network, assumed responsibility for Fox Broadcasting, as well as Fox International Channels, while then entertainment chairman Peter Liquori, now with Discovery Communications, stepped down from his position with the top broadcast network. Rice, who had been president of studio Fox Searchlight, took Liguori's spot and began reporting to Vinciquerra.
In June, then DirecTV CEO Chase Carey ended speculation by announcing that he would return to News in July as president and COO. Chernin exited on June 30.
"News Corporation is the world's leading content company with the country's number one broadcast network and powerful cable networks across the board," said Carey in a statement. "We have great management teams driving these businesses. "This reorganization is not targeted at short term change, but at maintaining our momentum while better aligning us in key content areas for long term growth as we take these businesses to new heights over the coming years."
"David Hill and Peter Rice are two of the most successful executives at our company," said Vinciquerra. "Not only do I admire their creative prowess, but they have both done a tremendous job of growing their respective businesses and their continued leadership will place us in an enviable position as we move forward."
Carey added, "Rich Battista is a valued member of this company and we hope to find a new opportunity for him in the near term."