In a major shakeup of its executive ranks, News Corp. has promoted Peter Rice to chairman and chief executive of the Fox Networks Group.
The move gives the fast-rising Rice oversight of the Fox Sports empire. Rice, who previously was chairman of entertainment for the Fox Networks Group, is now one of the most powerful executives at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. He previously ran 20th Century Fox's successful specialty film label Fox Searchlight.
David Hill, the longtime chairman of Fox Sports, will become a senior executive vice president of News Corp. The company said that Hill, one of the most colorful characters in the TV industry, will focus on international programming.
“The contributions that Peter has made to News Corporation over the years are immeasurable," said News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey. "Peter has proven himself at both the Fox Entertainment Networks, and Fox Searchlight before, to be one of the most innovative and strategic leaders in the entertainment industry.”
Rice, who already oversaw Fox's broadcast network and its FX channel, now adds not only Fox Sports and the regional sports cable channels, but also the National Geographic Channel. He oversees much of Fox's television operations with the exception of Fox News, which is under Roger Ailes as are Fox's TV stations. News Corp.'s TV production unit also does not report to Rice.
In a statement, Hill said that he has been "eager to dive into a broader role" that enables him "to hunt down untapped programming, investment and digital opportunities all over the world."
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