News Corp. restructures cable operations

Peter Rice to oversee all entertainment properties

News Corp. has put the final touches on a management restructuring of its cable TV operations.

Effective immediately, Fox entertainment chairman Peter Rice will add oversight of FX Networks (FX and Fox Movie Channel), assuming the title of entertainment chairman at Fox Networks Group.

The move brings all entertainment-centered domestic Fox networks -- broadcast and cable -- under one executive, Rice, and marks a big promotion for the former Fox Searchlight topper, who has been in the TV business for 10 months.

Similarly, Fox Sports chairman and CEO David Hill will be in charge of all Fox sports TV operations, including Fox Sports, the company's 19 regional sports networks, Fox Soccer Channel, Speed, Fox Sports en Espanol and Fuel TV. He also will oversee the company's joint venture sports businesses Stats and Big Ten Network.

Rice and Hill will continue to report to Fox Networks Group chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra.

Rich Battista, who was overseeing Fox's cable nets as president of Fox National Cable Networks, reporting to Vinciquerra, is in discussions about a potential new role within the company.

"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," said News Corp. president and COO Chase Carey, adding that "Rich Battista is a valued member of this company, and we hope to find a new opportunity for him in the near term."

Under the new structure, Rice and Hill are getting additional direct reports.

John Landgraf, president and GM of FX Networks, will report to Rice. Fox Sports Networks president Randy Freer, Fox Soccer Channel executive vp and GM David Nathanson, Speed president Hunter Nickell, Fox Sports en Espanol senior vps and co-assistant GMs Dermot McQuarrie and Raul de Quesada, and Fuel TV senior vp and GM CJ Olivares will report to Hill.

All but Freer, who reported to Vinciquerra, had reported to Battista.

The National Geographic Channel, which had joint oversight by Battista and David Haslingden, CEO of National Geographic Channels International, National Geographic Channel U.S. and Fox International Channels, will be run solely by Haslingden, who reports to Vinciquerra.
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