Fox Television has named Richard Battista executive VP of Fox Channels Group, a new division that will encompass Fox’s wholly owned and partially owned cable programming services.

Battista, 33, who was previously executive VP, Fox/Liberty Networks and head of Fox Sports Intl. since April 1997, will work with executives within each of the Fox-owned channels to maximize their combined business interests. The top executives at each of these channels will continue to report to their respective boards or within News Corp., as previously organized.

Battista will join the management boards of both Fox/Liberty Networks and Fox Family Worldwide. He will report to Chase Carey, chairman and CEO of Fox Television.

The programming services included in the Fox Channels Group include Fox/Liberty Networks’ FX (36 million homes), 18 regional sports networks either owned and operated or aligned with Fox Sports Net (57 million homes), Fox Family Channel (74 million homes), and the wholly owned Fox News Channel (31 million homes).

“These are all still stand-alone businesses,” said Battista, who is based in Los Angeles. “I’ll act as a facilitator and work as a point person for Chase and Peter (Chernin, co-chief operating officer of News Corp.).”

Battista said there are opportunities for synergy among the cable services in areas such as distribution and advertising sales.

In his previous job, Battista supervised all of Fox Sports Intl.’s activities, including channel development and management, syndication sales, acquisitions and new business development.