David Hill Exits Fox Sports, Elevated to News Corp. Senior EVP
After two decades transforming Fox Sports into the U.S. and international sports-television powerhouse it is today, David Hill is moving on. As part of a sprawling shakeup across News Corp. and Fox Networks Group (FNG), the Fox Sports Chairman/CEO has been elevated to senior executive vice president, News Corp., where he will focus on programming, digital initiatives, and other opportunities across the company’s operating units in Latin America, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the U.S.
“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,” says Hill in a statement. “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.”
News Corp. also announced that Peter Rice, who has served as chairman of entertainment for FNG since 2010, has been elevated to chairman/CEO of FNG, where he will oversee all programming and operations for the group, which includes Fox Sports Media Group (FSMG), as well as Fox Broadcasting Co., FX, Fox International Channels, and the National Geographic Channels.
Randy Freer and Eric Shanks, co-presidents of FSMG, who previously reported to Hill, will now report to Rice.
Fox Sports’ First Commander
Hill, who will be based in Los Angeles in his new position, has served as chairman/CEO of Fox Sports since 1999. In 1993, he served as Fox Sports founding president and leveraged the network’s newly signed NFL television deal to create a new sports-television heavyweight.
He also led the company’s efforts to secure major sports TV rights on top of the NFL deal, including Major League Baseball, NASCAR, the NHL, and, most recently, Pac-12 and Big-12 college football and the UFC.
“David has proven himself to be one of the true visionaries in sports and entertainment across three continents during the last three decades and most recently has helped energize our National Geographic Channels,” says News Corp. President/COO Chase Carey. “As we continue to grow our content brands across the world, David’s unique leadership and experience will be invaluable.”
After getting Fox Sports off the ground in the mid ’90s, Hill served as chairman/CEO of Fox Broadcasting Co. from 1997 to 1999, overseeing all programming and operations for the network. Before arriving at Fox, he held several News Corp. posts in the UK. In 1988, he helped launch Sky Television and Eurosport and later took charge of BSkyB Sports Channel, creating Sky Sports in 1991.
A Champion of Innovation
In addition to launching several of the most powerful sports-television entities on the planet, Hill has been a champion of innovation, shepherding a variety of sports-production technologies into the mainstream. He was among the first to mandate the continuous presence of the on-screen score-and-clock bug — or Fox Box — a practice that is now ubiquitous on sports broadcasts. He, along with Shanks and the rest of the Fox Sports team, also helped introduce the FOXTrax “glowing puck” and the yellow first-down line that is a staple of today’s televised football.
Hill also has played a key role in developing Fox’s overall fast-paced production style, often incorporating constant crosscuts, unique camera positions, animated characters and mascots, and an onslaught of high-octane graphics elements.
“I am immensely proud of the work we’ve done to revolutionize the television business, both in the U.S. and in Europe,” says Hill. “And I leave Fox Sports in an amazing position, with a great team in place led by Randy and Eric.”
The News Corp. Shakeup and Rice’s New Role
The announcement comes as part of an overarching shake-up ahead of News Corp.’s plan to split the media conglomerate into two separate entertainment and news companies next year.
Rice will now oversee all programming and operations for FSMG, with Shanks and Freer reporting directly to him. Prior to his post as chairman of entertainment, Rice was president of Fox Searchlight, the company’s independent-film–focused division. Before that, as EVP of production for Twentieth Century Fox, he worked on a wide range of films, including Moulin Rouge, Romeo & Juliet, and X-Men.
“I am honored to work closely with the excellent executive team at FNG to lead these businesses into their next phase and am grateful to [News Corp. Founder/Chairman/CEO Rupert] Murdoch, Chase, and [Deputy COO James Murdoch] for this amazing opportunity,” says Rice. “The talented artists, powerful brands, franchises, and live events we have in place across our channels are unrivaled in the media business and will serve as an invaluable foundation as we embark on another wave of incremental growth.”
David Haslingden, president/COO of FNG, and Mike Hopkins, president of distribution for FNG, both of whom previously reported to Carey, will now report to Rice. Kevin Reilly, president of entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Co., and John Landgraf, president/GM of FX, will continue to report to Rice.