David Hill is stepping down from his 21st Century Fox executive job to launch a TV production company.
Dubbed Hilly, the venture will be backed by Fox. The new company will focus on live production, creating reality shows, providing production expertise to organizations, and digital investment.
The high profile Fox exit has “no connection whatsoever with recent senior management appointments,” a 21st Century spokesperson told TheWrap on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Rupert Murdoch would step down as CEO on July 1, yielding control to sons James and Lachlan. Also as part of the shakeup, Chase Carey will take on a lesser executive vice president title, which he will serve out through June 30, 2016.
Hill (pictured above) is credited with building Fox Sports and co-founding Sky Television, among other ventures in a long and successful career. He ran the Fox network just before the turn of the century, helping to turn it around at the time.
More specifically in the sports world, Hill is credited with the constant score and time graphic, the hockey glow puck and NFL game’s first down graphic line — which we all know by now is unofficial.
Hill was previously chairman of the National Geographic Channel, and has also been an executive producer on the last two seasons of Fox’s “American Idol,” a role he will continue though next year’s final run.
“David is a dynamic and imaginative leader who has changed the experience of nearly all major sports on three continents,” said Rupert Murdoch, still technically chairman and chief executive officer of 21st Century Fox for another week. “Whether it was launching Sky Television, the Fox Network, Fox Sports, or the Regional Sports Networks, we owe him an enormous debt for his nearly thirty years of contributions.”
“For nearly thirty years, David has defined excellence in sports television in the same way Roone Arledge did in the 1970’s and 1980’s,” added Carey, who is president and chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox until month’s end. “David is a true leader, visionary and once-in-a-lifetime force of nature.”
Hill, most recently a senior executive vice president for 21st Century Fox, first joined the company in 1993. He joined News Corp five years earlier.
“It has been an intensely satisfying creative period. Working for Rupert Murdoch, Chase Carey and Peter Chernin is as good as it gets,” said Hill. “Building Fox Sports from the ground up was something which will always live with me — but more particularly all the incredible men and women in front of, and behind the cameras who made Rupert and Chase’s dream become a reality, and turned an idea into what has become a world leader in sports production excellence.”
He continued: “I am especially proud of Eric Shanks’ leadership in taking the reins at Fox Sports and, with a very steady hand, expanding the business in a terrific way.”
“Of all the fun parts, the proudest was running the Fox Network in the late ’90s,” Hill added. “When I was given responsibility, it lagged in a pitiful fourth place. Working with Peter Roth, Mike Darnell, and a group of fearless television warriors, we took it to No. 2 by .1 behind NBC by 1999.”