Effective immediately, Fox entertainment chairman Peter Rice will add oversight of FX Networks (FX and Fox Movie Channel), assuming the title of entertainment chairman at Fox Networks Group.
The move brings all entertainment-centered domestic Fox networks -- broadcast and cable -- under one executive, Rice, and marks a big promotion for the former Fox Searchlight topper, who has been in the TV business for 10 months.
Similarly, Fox Sports chairman and CEO David Hill will be in charge of all Fox sports TV operations, including Fox Sports, the company's 19 regional sports networks, Fox Soccer Channel, Speed, Fox Sports en Espanol and Fuel TV. He also will oversee the company's joint venture sports businesses Stats and Big Ten Network.
Rice and Hill will continue to report to Fox Networks Group chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra.
The marketing hook will not only serve Nat Geo Channel and the upcoming Nat Geo Wild, but it also will work across the company's channels around the world in 165 countries and 34 languages.
The tagline, to be introduced Nov. 15, follows the company's adoption last year of a global logo and on-air look, along with an increase in programming co-productions.
"We felt like this was an opportunity for a warmer and more human connection among all the channels," Nat Geo Channel global CEO David Haslingden said. "We worried about pleasing a disproportionate audience, but the process of selecting a tagline was much easier than we anticipated. We found that people from around the world embraced this notion of living curious."
The company also is readying a seven-hour miniseries to be broadcast globally next fall.
The announcement made Tuesday by James Murdoch, News Corp.'s chairman and CEO in Europe and Asia, confirmed previous reports that the conglomerate will dismantle Star's Asian regional business that has been based in Hong Kong since 1991.
Star's CEO Paul Aiello is exiting as part of the breakup and will quit the company in December after a hand over period. COO Laureen Ong's departure this month was announced in July.
The group will be replaced by two local clusters -- Star India and Star Greater China -- and a channel management business that is merged into the existing Fox International Channels business in Asia.
"The changes will take place over the next year, with much being accomplished by the end of this fiscal year,
The revamp of the Rupert Murdoch-owned satcaster is not just a response to the global recession but a corporate streamlining move inspired by Fox International Channels boss nm2602198 autoDavid Haslingden[/link] and News Corp.'s European and Asian boss James Murdoch, who five years ago occupied a corner office at Star's glitzy Hong Kong offices.
Together, they plan to eliminate overlap between Star and Fic, which can be seen as parallel entities competing for eyeballs, advertising and overhead.
Star packages 60 own-branded regional and national channels in 13 Asian languages and claims to broadcast to 53 Asian countries. Beyond Hong Kong, it has offices in India, Taiwan, mainland China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, the U.S. and the U.K.
Fic, whose Asian regional headquarters sits within the same Harbourfront offices as Star,
Schiffman, who had been acting GM since the spring, was NGC's executive vp marketing and digital media, where he was responsible for marketing, digital media, brand management, communication, business development and research. He will report to NGC CEO David Haslingden.
"NGC has been a tremendous success, and Steve has been a principal contributor to that momentum for more than five years," Haslingden said. "Under his leadership during the past year, the network realized record ratings and revenue growth. As we move into the future, I have full confidence that Steve will help lead the National Geographic Channel toward developing its full potential by aggressively expanding our business with various line extensions and across diverse platforms."
Since 1989, Schiffman has served in executive positions at the Weather Channel, NASCAR and Kraft Foods in addition to his active involvement in the Cable Telecommunications Association for Marketing, where he serves on the board of directors and the CTAM planning committee.
Lopez will report to David Haslingden, president and CEO of Fox International Channels and National Geographic Channels International and U.S.
In addition to his new role, Lopez will maintain his responsibilities as president of Fox Latin American Channels and managing director of FX U.K.
Under Lopez's watch, the company has launched FX, Fox Life, Speed Channel and Baby TV in Latin America as well as FX and FX+ in the U.K.
Additionally, FIC has created two new production houses in Latin America: Fox Toma 1 and Fox Telecolombia. Distribution of Fox's basic and premium channels in Latin America and the U.K. also grew considerably during Lopez's tenure.
"(Lopez) is credited with a turnaround that saw revenue grow fourfold since his appointment as general manager in 2000," the company said in a statement.
A 30-year industry veteran, Burns will be responsible for NGC programming and strategy content, including development, production, acquisitions and scheduling. He will report to CEO David Haslingden.
The appointment follows Haslingden's announcement that the company plans to push NGC into a "larger international strategy," in which Burns will play an important role.
Burns joins NGC from Discovery Networks, where he has held several senior and executive titles since 1992. Most recently, he served as executive vp and chief science editor and oversaw a series of expedition specials called Discovery Channel Quest.
Before joining Discovery Networks, Burns was a supervising producer with NGC, where he contributed to its Emmy Award-winning series Explorer.
"I'm pleased to be returning home to this respected brand at such an important phase of its evolution," Burns said. "The proven programming strategy of combining strong series and high-profile specials has created tremendous ratings momentum for the network, and I look forward to building on that success."
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