Fox unit high on Hegeman

Youth-oriented division selects COO

Former Lionsgate marketing honcho John Hegeman has been appointed chief operating officer of Fox’s new — and still unnamed — young adult-focused division.

Hegeman will work alongside Peter Rice, the division’s prexy, on all aspects of the company, including production, acquisitions, marketing and distribution.

The company is charged with producing and acquiring up to eight pics a year targeted at auds between the ages of 12 and 24, with a strong focus on the 16-21 aud. Hegeman told Daily Variety there is no limit on the genre of films the company will release, and that the slate would not shy away from R-rated pics.

“Whether it’s a comedy or horror or drama or action, as long as it’s speaking to a segment and it’s a great piece of material, we’ll make it,” Hegeman said.

The hope is to release the company’s first feature in the fourth quarter of this year.

Distribution will be handled by 20th Century Fox.

But the first order of business — after picking a name, of course — is launching a Web site that will be aimed at creating a community of fans of the division, and not just individual pics.

Such a Web site would allow the company to maintain a “continuous dialogue” with its aud without having to wait for a film to be released.

Site will feature exclusive film clips from other Fox divisions. The division also will create new-media content for the Internet, mobile devices and other emerging technologies.

“We want to be where our audience is, not just advertising our movies to them,” Hegeman said. “We really want to create a relationship where we’re going to give them a platform from which to entertain and give them information. That’s the best way to speak to young adults.”

As prexy of worldwide marketing for Lionsgate, a post he left last month, Hegeman oversaw the marketing campaigns of films such as “Crash” and “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” as well as both “Saw” movies. He also was behind the online marketing for “The Blair Witch Project.”

Before joining Lionsgate, Hegeman was an exec at Revolution Studios, which he joined in 2002. Before that he launched and was prexy of Distant Corners Entertainment Group. From 1997-2000 he was prexy of worldwide marketing for Artisan Entertainment.

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