As Business Shifts, Peter Rice Guides Fox Into New Territory

Top exec at 21st Century Fox is keynote speaker at Variety's Dealmakers Breakfast on Dec. 7

21st Century Fox president Peter Rice
Courtesy of Brad Barket/FOX

Peter Rice is a thinker.

The chairman-CEO of Fox Networks Group is known for his adeptness for analyzing challenges and opportunities. Colleagues say he brings the same intellectual rigor to considering options for a marketing campaign for a TV show or film as he does to making fundamental decisions about how Fox should navigate the evolving world of content distribution. Those skills, coupled with strong business and creative instincts, have made him a trusted lieutenant of the Murdochs.

Rice came up the ranks at 20th Century Fox on the film side, signing on in the marketing department in 1989 after graduating from the University of Nottingham in his native Britain. He made his mark as a creative executive by helping to guide such successes as “Moulin Rouge” and “Romeo + Juliet,” both from filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, and launching Fox’s “X-Men” franchise.

In 2000 the exec was appointed to the top job at Fox Searchlight, which enjoyed a strong run on his watch that included 2008’s “Slumdog Millionaire,” which nabbed eight Oscars, including best picture; as well as “Juno,” “Napoleon Dynamite,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “The Last King of Scotland,” and “Sideways.”

Rice segued to the TV side of Fox in 2009, just in time to guide the division through the transition from linear viewing to an ever more competitive multiplatform environment.

Today, Rice oversees Fox Broadcasting, the 20th Century Fox TV production arm, FX Networks and National Geographic and Fox’s vast portfolio of international channels in his role as chairman-CEO of Fox Networks Group.

In September, he was promoted to president of 21st Century Fox, recognizing the role he has long played in helping identify and execute strategic initiatives for the media giant.