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Fox Broadcasting Co. is combining its development and current programming departments in the effort to provide more consistent management of its series programming. As a result, five top execs have been promoted with expanded responsibilities.

The new structure marks an increase in authority for Fox chief operating officer Joe Earley, who is No. 2 at the network to Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly.

Earley had already overseen Fox’s current department, and now he will take on oversight of development through the combination of those functions along comedy and drama lines.

In comedy development and programming, Suzanna Makkos has been elevated to exec vice president and will oversee the net’s comedy development and series coverage. In the same department, Lauren Levy Neustradter has been upped to senior VP, and Samata Narra has been promoted to VP. They will serve as Makkos’ senior lieutenants.

In drama development and programming, Terence Carter has been promoted to exec VP and will lead the net’s drama development and programming initiatives. Charlie Andrews, upped to senior VP in the department, will serve as a key lieutenant to Carter, along with senior VP James Oh.

Shana C. Waterman, head of Fox’s event-series department, and alternative programming topper Simon Andreae willc continue to report to Reilly.

“To be a network of the future, we not only need to contemporize the way we do business, but also build the best teams to support that business,”Earley said. Combining our development and programming functions allows us to provide more cohesive support to shows – from inception to finale – and forge even deeper, more collaborative relationships with the creative community,” said Earley in a statement.

Both teams will report to Earley. Reilly will remain hands-on when it comes to programming matters, but having oversight flow through Earley will free Reilly up for more strategic and big-picture responsibilities.

Makkos has been with Fox for more than a decade. Carter was a programming exec at NBC before joining Fox in 2009.

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