David Hill to Step Down From 21st Century Fox Executive Post

Peden + Munk

The longtime executive's new company will be backed by Fox and called Hilly.

David Hill, the veteran Fox executive who helped launch Fox Sports and is a longtime confidant of Rupert Murdoch's, is stepping down from his executive role at 21st Century Fox and will launch a TV production banner, Hill and the media conglomerate said on Tuesday.

Fox will back Hill’s company, dubbed Hilly, which will focus on live production, creating reality TV shows, providing production expertise and investing in digital media.

"The future of the broadcast networks lies in big, spectacular live events," Hill said. "As I've spent most of my life producing those, I think I can give some added value. In a funny way, this is like finishing my apprenticeship."

The senior executive vp for 21st Century Fox has had a storied, three-decade career with the company that has included the chairmanship of National Geographic Channels and assisting with the launches of the Fox Network and Sky Television.

The Australian built and ran Fox Sports and had a senior role at DirecTV when the conglomerate, then known as News Corp., owned the satellite TV giant. More recently, Hill worked on Fox's music talent shows The X Factor and American Idol.

Hill's move comes ahead of James Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch's recently announced July 1 elevation to the CEO and executive co-chairman roles, respectively, at 21st Century Fox.

Hill became a go-to executive for Rupert Murdoch in 1993 when he was tasked with creating Fox Sports before the start of the 1994 NFL season. His numerous innovations, many of which are widely copied by competitors today, includes a graphically produced first-down line stretched across the televised football field.

"David is a dynamic and imaginative leader who has changed the experience of nearly all major sports on three continents," Rupert Murdoch said on Tuesday.

"David has defined excellence in sports television in the same way Roone Arledge did in the 1970s and 1980s," added 21st Century Fox COO Chase Carey. "David is a true leader, visionary and once-in-a-lifetime force of nature."

Hill said on Tuesday that "building Fox Sports from the ground up was something which will always live with me," but that his proudest achievement at the conglomerate was running the Fox Network in the 1990s. When he was given the role, the network was in fourth place and he took it to second in less than three years with the help of executives Peter RothMike Darnell "and a group of fearless television warriors," he said.

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