Rich Battista returns to Fox fold

Exec to head Fox National Cable Networks

NEW YORK — Rich Battista has returned to the Fox fold as prexy of Fox National Cable Networks, a newly created post for the unit overseeing a clutch of cablers including FX, National Geographic Channel, Fox Reality, Fuel and Speed.

Battista is returning to Fox after spending the past four years as chief exec of Gemstar-TV Guide Intl., which was recently sold to Macrovision. Battista served as exec VP of Fox TV and exec VP of business development and strategy for the Fox Entertainment Group from 2001-04.

The networks that now report to Battista also include Fox Movie Channel, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox College Sports, Fox Sports en Espanol and the Big Ten Network. He’ll also oversee the operations of the Fox Cable ad sales unit. Battista reports to Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group.

Battista, who began his career as an investment banker with Morgan Stanley, started as a Fox TV executive in 1990. He left in 1999 to become co-founder of iFuse.

After two years at iFuse, Battista returned to Fox.