David Hill Leaving Fox Sports For Another News Corp. Position
News Corp. yesterday announced that DAVID HILL is leaving Fox Sports for a new job at the company as part of a restructuring of its media and entertainment properties. Hill, who launched Fox Sports in '93, becomes News Corp. Senior Exec VP, where he will focus on programming and digital initiatives across Latin America, Asia, Australia, Europe and the U.S. Fox Sports co-Presidents & co-COOs RANDY FREER and ERIC SHANKS, who had reported to Hill, now will report to PETER RICE, who was promoted to Fox Networks Group Chair & CEO. Rice appears to be the clear winner in the restructuring, as Fox Networks Group President of Distribution MIKE HOPKINS and President & COO DAVID HASLINGDEN now will report to him. Both execs had reported to News Corp. President & COO CHASE CAREY. Fox Broadcasting's Entertainment President KEVIN REILLY and FX President JOHN LANDGRAF will continue to report to Rice. Hill, who had been Fox Sports Chair & CEO since '99, will continue to be based in L.A. In the News Corp. release, Hill said, "After 30 years spent building our sports businesses into global leaders, I've been eager to dive into a broader role that enables me to hunt down untapped programming, investment and digital opportunities all over the world. From sports rights in emerging markets to new overseas digital channels, this new role will allow me to explore and experiment with new programming concepts across the whole of News Corporation in a completely new way. I am immensely proud of the work we've done to revolutionize the television business, both in the U.S. and in Europe, and I leave Fox Sports in an amazing position, with a great team in place led by Randy and Eric" (John Ourand, THE DAILY).
GAME CHANGER: ADWEEK's Anthony Crupi noted Hill in his first year at Fox Sports "poached rival talents (PAT SUMMERALL, JOHN MADDEN) and infused the network's pre-game shows with an irreverence that would become a hallmark of all Fox Sports presentations." Hill also "made Fox broadcasts a more friendly destination for casual viewers" (ADWEEK.com, 7/23). DAILY VARIETY's Stuart Levine wrote Rice has "taken another step up the ladder at News Corp.," while Hill is "segueing out of his sports-czar role to a broader global post with a mandate to develop programming and digital initiatives." Rice is "known to be a favorite" of News Corp. Chair & CEO RUPERT MURDOCH, and the "conventional wisdom on the 20th Century Fox lot is that he will eventually oversee all film and TV operations." Hill's shift "marks the end of an era for Fox Sports." His contract was up at the end of this year and sources said that with Freer and Shanks "handling the nuts and bolts of the division, he was looking for new challenges" (VARIETY.com, 7/23).