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Battista Returns to Fox as President of National Cable Networks

Former Gemstar-TV Guide International chief Rich Battista is back in the Fox fold, rejoining the company as president of Fox National Cable Networks, a newly created position, officials said last week.

Battista will be responsible for oversight of the company’s national cable programming services, including FX, National Geographic Channel, Fox Movie Channel, Fox Reality Channel, Fuel TV, Speed, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox College Sports, Fox Sports en Español, Big Ten Network (the company’s co-venture with the Big Ten Conference) and Fox Cable Ad Sales.

“We’ve been looking for the right opportunity for Rich to rejoin our team ever since the Gemstar sale earlier this year,” Fox Networks Group chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra said in a statement. “He is a uniquely skilled executive who has demonstrated success in virtually every area of the television business. I’m delighted he’s returning to the company.”

Battista’s appointment will help reduce the number of direct reports that Vinciquerra has, which had been over 20.

Most recently, Battista, who is on vacation and couldn’t be reached for comment, served as CEO of Gemstar-TV Guide International, the owner of the TV Guide brand — TV Guide magazine and TV Guide Network — from 2004 to 2008. On his watch, the brand expanded its reach across emerging media platforms, leading to the sale of the company to Macrovision in May.

Previously, Battista reported to Vinciquerra and News Corp. chief operating officer Peter Chernin while serving as executive vice president of business development and strategy for the Fox Entertainment Group, where he was responsible for managing business development and identifying potential strategic partners for the various FEG companies.

Before assuming that role, Battista served as executive vice president of the Fox Networks Group, where he oversaw business development on behalf of Fox Broadcasting and Fox Cable Networks.

Battista first joined Fox in 1990, holding numerous management positions throughout the rapidly evolving Fox Television portfolio. He left in 1999 to become co-founder and CEO of iFuse, a youth-culture media company, and returned in 2001 as executive vice president of Fox Television.

Before joining Fox, Battista worked as a financial analyst at investment-banking firm Morgan Stanley. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School, and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University.