The latest fallout from Peter Chernin’s departure: News Corp. is combining its Fox TV networks into a single unit to be headed up by Fox Networks chairman Tony Vinciquerra.
The move will join Fox Broadcasting with Fox’s cable networks (FX, Fox Business Network and Fox News) and Fox’s international channels.
Peter Rice, currently the head of Fox Searchlight, will now be the chairman of entertainment at Fox Broadcasting, reporting to Vinciquerra and replacing current Fox Broadcasting CEO Peter Liguori, who’s stepping down. (Oh no! Who will Ryan Seacrest call to solve American Idol‘s crises now?)
Rice’s promotion illustrates News Corp.’s confidence in Fox Searchlight, which released Slumdog Millionaire, Juno and Little Miss Sunshine. Arguably the most successful specialty film division, Searchlight also kept Fox afloat at the box office last year as 20th Century Fox had a rough 2008. The specialty division will now be jointly run by COOs Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula.
News Corp. also said that Fox’s LA-based creative production divisions will be combined into one unit headed by Fox Filmed Entertainment co-CEOs Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos, which confirms a report published by Variety shortly after Chernin’s departure.
The full press release is below.
News Corporation Announces Restructuring at Fox Businesses
Los Angeles, CA, March 12, 2009
– News Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch today announced a restructuring of the Los Angeles-based Fox businesses to capitalise on management strength and to position the businesses for future creative and economic growth.
“We have – simply put — the best management team in the entertainment industry. Today’s restructuring, by removing barriers between businesses, will enable us to better share ideas and resources, allowing us to make the most of this team and the talent that populates our ranks,” Mr. Murdoch said.
Beginning immediately, the Los Angeles-based creative production divisions will be combined under a single unit reporting to Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman, co-chairmen of Fox Filmed Entertainment, whose leadership has propelled the studio to record breaking profits during their lengthy tenure with the company. Twentieth Century Fox Television chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden will report to Mr. Gianopulos and Mr. Rothman. Emiliano Calemzuk, president of Fox Television Studios, will report to Mr. Newman and Ms. Walden.
On the television network side of the business, Tony Vinciquerra, chairman of the Fox Networks Group, will continue to head the cable networks, the business aspects of FOX Broadcasting, Fox International Channels, and will gain responsibility for FOX Broadcasting programming. Mr. Vinciquerra has been a key architect of Fox’s tremendous growth in cable over the past decade.
As part of the restructuring of the network business, Peter Liguori will be stepping down as chairman of entertainment, Fox Broadcasting, effective immediately. Peter Rice, president of Fox Searchlight, will exit his post at the specialty label, and take on the role of chairman of entertainment, Fox Broadcasting, reporting to Mr. Vinciquerra.
“Peter Liguori has been an outstanding Fox executive, not only in leading FBC for three seasons, but in his groundbreaking programming that helped build FX into a general entertainment leader. We wish him continued success,” Mr. Murdoch said.
“Peter Rice is one of our most talented creative executives, having championed such films as Slumdog Millionaire, Little Miss Sunshine, and Juno during his tenure at Fox Searchlight. As we increasingly look to apply unconventional approaches to our traditional businesses, I’m convinced Peter Rice is the right person to transform our broadcast television business.”
With Mr. Rice’s departure at Fox Searchlight, Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula will jointly run the business, reporting to Mr. Gianopulos and Mr. Rothman. Nancy and Steve, COOs of Fox Searchlight, who have been Mr. Rice’s partners through all of the unit’s great successes, will assume full authority for the business. Claudia Lewis, president of production, remains in place.
Mr. Gianopulos, Mr. Rothman, and Mr. Vinciquerra will report directly to Mr. Murdoch. Peter Levinsohn, president of Fox Interactive Media, will also report directly to Mr. Murdoch. Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of FOX News Channel and Fox Business Network and chairman of the Fox Television Stations and Twentieth Television, will continue to report to Mr. Murdoch.
News Corporation (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) had total assets as of December 31, 2008 of approximately US$50 billion and total annual revenues of approximately US$33 billion. News Corporation is a diversified global media company with operations in eight industry segments: filmed entertainment; television; cable network programming; direct broadcast satellite television; magazines and inserts; newspapers and information services; book publishing; and other. The activities of News Corporation are conducted principally in the United States, Continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, Asia and Latin America.
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