Peter Rice could be on verge of overseeing cable assets
A major exec shakeup appears to be in the works at Fox Cable Networks.
Fox Entertainment chairman Peter Rice is expected to gain oversight of Fox’s entertainment cable assets, including the FX cable network.
Simultaneously, Fox Sports topper David Hill may be in line to take over Fox’s regional sports nets.
It’s unclear where that leaves Fox National Cable Networks prexy Rich Battista, but the exec is expected to switch to another role at the very least.
Move, first reported by Broadcasting and Cable, is the latest structural change initiated by News Corp. chief operating officer Chase Carey, who rejoined the conglom last June after a six-year run as CEO of sat- caster DirecTV.
Hill is a longtime News Corp. ally of Carey’s, while Rice is a rising star in News Corp.
Following a successful run at Fox Searchlight, Rice was brought in to Fox Broadcasting as entertainment chair — replacing Peter Liguori –last March.
The U.K. native had no previous TV experience, but the move was seen as Rupert Murdoch’s attempt at grooming Rice for bigger things — starting with a crash course in learning the company’s TV business.
Rice has spent the past year getting to know how Fox Broadcasting operates — and it appears that Murdoch and Carey were ready to give him an even bigger oversight, adding cable to the mix.
Asked for comment at Fox’s TV Critics Assn. press tour — which coincidentally took place Monday — Rice told Daily Variety he had none. Fox has no comment as well.
It’s unclear whether Fox Networks Group chairman Tony Vinciquerra would see his duties change. Rice and Hill report to Vinciquerra, and would continue to do that in the new setup, insiders said.
In the scenario under consideration, Fox’s entertainment cabler toppers, including FX chief John Landgraf, would report to Rice.
Monday repped a busy day for Rice, who earlier announced, alongside Fox Entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly and “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell, that Cowell would depart “Idol” this year in order to launch “The X Factor.”