Executive leaves DirecTV post

Fox Sports has made it official: David Hill has returned to his old job as chairman-CEO after a two-year stint as president of the DirecTV Entertainment Group.

Move follows John Malone’s agreement in principle three months ago to buy News Corp.’s 38% stake in DirecTV, a deal awaiting regulatory approval. News Corp. is the parent company of Fox Sports.

Hill said his shift back to Fox Sports couldn’t be timelier, because the division owns the rights to more big-event sports product than at any other time in its history. Fox Sports’ pro football contract includes the high-rated Sunday-afternoon NFL games, the next Super Bowl, the NFL Pro Bowl and the NFC Championship Game.

Fox Sports has also negotiated a series of NASCAR events led by the Daytona 500, along with the World Series, Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, a Saturday-afternoon schedule of MLB regular-season contests and the American League Championship Series.

In college football, Fox Sports has a contract to carry the Bowl Championship Series.

“These are all gems in Fox Sports’ crown,” Hill said. “Sports events like these are DVR-proof. People have to watch them live,” which allows Fox’s sales staff to score big bucks from Madison Avenue.

Hill created the Fox Sports division in December 1993 and set up the Fox Sports Net division in 1996 as the umbrella for a group of regional networks focusing on local sports.

From 1997-99, Hill took leave of Fox Sports to run a struggling Fox Broadcasting Co., including the Fox network. Hill helped to turn the Fox net around by signing off on such hits as “Ally McBeal,” “That ’70s Show,” “King of the Hill” and “Family Guy.”

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