Top Fox TV executive Tony Vinciquerra out in shake-up

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Tony Vinciquerra, chief executive of Fox Networks Group, is leaving the company, prompting a major reorganization of Rupert Murdoch’s television empire.

He departs after a long year that involved several brutal retransmission battles with cable operators. Vinciquerra was the point person for the negotiations and accomplished the company’s goal of generating big fee increases to carry the Fox networks. The 55-year-old Vinciquerra told News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey last summer that he wanted to leave before his contract ended. Vinciquerra had two years remaining on his deal.


Vinciquerra had lost authority when Carey returned to News Corp. in 2009. Vinciquerra, who briefly reported directly to Murdoch, had the ‘same skill set’ as Carey, according to a person familiar with the situation, and thus wasn’t as critical to the organization. Vinciquerra also serves a board director of Motorola Inc. He was named ‘most powerful person in cable’ for 2010 by Cablefax publication.

The shake-up allows Carey to streamline management of Fox’s sprawling television group. David Haslingden, head of the Fox International Channels, will take over many of Vinciquerra’s responsibilities and become president and chief operating officer of the Fox Networks Group. He will report to Carey. Peter Rice, chairman of entertainment for the Fox Networks Group, will retain his current duties and report directly to Carey. Randy Freer and Eric Shanks will become co-presidents of the Fox Sports Media Group, reporting to Fox Sports Chairman David Hill. Hill assume management of the National Geographic Channels.

[Update, 5:55 p.m.: For more, see the story in tomorrow’s Times.]

-- Meg James