Rich Battista tapped as Fox cable nets chief

Newly created position reunites Battista with Fox

Rich Battista, former CEO of Gemstar-TV Guide International, has been named president of Fox National Cable Networks.

In the newly created position, Battista will be responsible for oversight of the company's national cable programming services, including FX, National Geographic Channel, Fox Movie Channel, Fox Reality Channel, Fuel TV, SPEED, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox College Sports, Fox Sports en Espanol, the Big Ten Network (co-venture with the Big Ten Conference) and Fox Cable Ad Sales.

Battista had been with Gemstar since 2004, leaving the company after it was sold to Macrovision this year.

The move reunites him with Fox, where he held several positions throughout the 1990s and early 2000s with the exception of a 1999-2001 stint as co-founder and CEO of iFuse, a youth culture media company. Battista, who first joined Fox in 1990, rose through the ranks to hold such positions as executive vp business development and strategy at Fox Entertainment Group and executive vp at Fox Networks Group.

He will report to Fox Networks Group chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra. to whom he previously reported along with News Corp. COO Peter Chernin.

"We've been looking for the right opportunity for Rich to re-join our team ever since the Gemstar sale earlier this year," Vinciquerra said. "He is a uniquely skilled executive who has demonstrated success in virtually every area of the television business."