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Fox's Peter Rice and David Hill due new duties in management retooling [Updated]

January 11, 2010 |  8:50 pm

Fox television’s top entertainment executive, Peter Rice, will probably see his responsibilities grow beyond the flagship broadcast network and into cable programming as part of a management restructuring at News Corp., according to people familiar with the situation.

In addition, Fox Sports Chairman David Hill — a longtime lieutenant of News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch — is expected to take over programming of such cable channels as Speed and Fox’s collection of regional sports networks. Hill currently oversees Fox’s coverage of National Football League games, Major League Baseball and NASCAR.

The moves are part of News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey’s plans to streamline operations and consolidate TV programming under two executives, according to people who asked not to be identified because the plans have not been finalized. Carey declined to comment.

The changes may not bode well for Fox Networks Group Chief Executive Tony Vinciquerra, a business veteran who was hired by Carey’s successor, Peter Chernin, and in March was given responsibility for all television programming. Under the proposed scenario, Vinciquerra would be further removed from programming decisions. Yet executives familiar with the plan said Vinciquerra would continue to oversee the business side of the company’s TV operations, with Rice, Hill and Fox International Channels CEO David Haslingden reporting to him.

[Updated at 10:14 p.m.: This post clarifies Vinciquerra's expected new role.]

Rice until last March was head of the company’s specialty movie label, Fox Searchlight. Now, in addition to Fox Broadcasting, he will be in charge of programming the FX channel.

In the last year, News Corp.’s organizational chart has undergone plenty of shuffling. In February, Chernin announced he was leaving as president and Murdoch, 78, quickly reordered his troops. Rice moved to the television network, prompting observers to predict that he was being groomed for a bigger job.

Then, in July, Murdoch brought Carey back to the company as president and chief operating officer.  Carey had been running DirecTV, and he became the boss of many of the people who, just a few months before, had been assigned to Murdoch — including Vinciquerra.

It was unclear Monday what the moves mean for Rich Battista, who for nearly 18 months has served as president of the Fox cable networks overseeing FX, National Geographic Channel, Fuel and Speed.

-- Meg James