Fox21 eyes growth with new president

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20th Century Fox TV is looking to expand its cable/unscripted division Fox21 with the hiring of veteran TV and film marketing executive Chris Carlisle as president.

Since its launch in 2004, Fox21 had been run by senior vp Jane Francis, who will continue as senior vp creative affairs, overseeing the company's current slate as well as day-to-day development.

Fox21 has kept a relatively low profile. It produces FX's biker drama "Sons of Anarchy" and "Beauty and the Geek" — a hot international format seller — which is moving to MTV. Carlisle's mandate is to grow the company domestically and internationally.

"With the economics of the broadcast business getting so challenging, we're becoming more aggressive in the cable and the reality business," 20th TV chairman Gary Newman said.

The major TV studios, once solely focused on scripted programming for the broadcast nets, have significantly increased their presence in the cable and unscripted arena in the past few years, with Warner Bros. TV and 20th TV launching dedicated units, Warner Horizon and Fox21.

Although he has some production experience, Carlisle's track record is mostly in marketing. He was head of marketing at 20th TV siblings FX and the Fox network before leaving last year to become president of domestic theatrical marketing at New Line until the film company was folded into Warner Bros. this year.

But Carlisle said a transition to programming was "always in my sights," pointing to his previous boss at Fox and FX, Peter Liguori, who came out of the marketing field to run FX and now Fox.

Carlisle plans to put his marketing skills to use in the new job at Fox21 by building a brand of shows that are "creatively adventurous."

"We're shooting for shows that would make people take notice," he said. (partialdiff)
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