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Fox Splits Up Cable Group; Hill Gets All Sports, Rice Takes FX

That didn’t take long. News Corp (NYSE: NWS). COO Chase Carey, a veteran of the Fox entertainment operations, is putting his own stamp on the company’s cable and TV programming. Rich Battista, who rejoined News Corp. to oversee all national Fox to cable programming in fall 2008, is the odd man out for now, his standalone group mostly split between Peter Rice, chairman, entertainment for the Fox Networks Group, who will run Fox, FX and Fox Movie Channel, and David Hill, chairman and CEO, FOX Sports, who now oversees all sports operations.

The announcement confirms earlier reports by B&C. Both continue to report to Fox Networks Group Chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra, whose own future, for some odd reason, was speculated to be in jeopardy. He reports to Carey.

On the surface it looks like a TV-cable consolidation but that’s not the case. The move is more about putting most of the programming in the hands of Fox’s two top creative execs. Battista will continue to run Fox Cable Sales while he and the company discuss a new role. National Geographic isn’t a natural fit for either of the other execs; how it will be handled remains to be determined.

It’s the second major shakeup for the LA Fox business once run by former COO Peter Chernin. News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch pushed Peter Liguori out as chairman of entertainment last spring, making way for Rice to head Fox Broadcasting after a starring role at Fox Searchlight. Liguori is now COO of Discovery Communications (NSDQ: DISCA).