Chris Carlisle named Fox21 president

Jane Francis to remain a senior VP

Former New Line marketing topper Chris Carlisle has been tapped president of Fox21, the alternative production arm of 20th Century Fox TV.

Carlisle reps the division’s first-ever prexy. Jane Francis, who had headed up the unit, will remain as senior VP of creative affairs.

Hiring comes as Fox21, which was first launched by 20th four years ago, is on a roll, having secured a renewal for biker drama “Sons of Anarchy” at FX and the move of “Beauty and the Geek” (which it produces with Katalyst) to MTV, which is prepping a celebrity version.

“They’ve got some good success behind them now,” Carlisle said. “Now how do you build and go to that next level? This is a perfect time to come in and build the studio. And it’s a right time in the marketplace, when you see what’s happening financially.”

Carlisle will report to 20th Century Fox TV chairs Dana Walden and Gary Newman, who launched the division in 2004 along with exec VP Howard Kurtzman. Fox21 was designed as a home for more cost-effective scripted and nonscripted fare, with an eye especially geared toward cable.

“We are very serious about this unit,” Walden said. “What we’re interested in doing now is developing a real brand for that company and broadening the business opportunities for Fox21. And having a real big-picture executive in place to take that company to the next step.”

Walden said the studio originally talked to Carlisle about another position at 20th but decided he’d be a better fit at Fox21.

At New Line, Carlisle served as president of domestic theatrical marketing, overseeing campaigns on titles such as “Sex and the City,” “Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay” and “Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D.”

Before that, he served as head of marketing at Fox, where he worked on shows such as “American Idol” and launched the inhouse ad agency Fox Infinity.

Exec also spent time as head of marketing at FX, launching shows including “The Shield” and “Nip/Tuck.”

Walden said Fox21 will likely add several more staffers in the coming months as it bolsters the division’s business.

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