(AFP) – Sep 21, 2012
LONDON — News Corp is planning to give James Murdoch responsibility for its US television businesses, the Fox Networks Group, the Financial Times reported in its Friday edition.
Murdoch, who is already deputy chief operating officer of News Corp, will oversee the group which includes the national Fox network and cable channels such as FX and National Geographic, as part of an expanded role, the newspaper said.
But he will not have control over News Corp's lucrative Fox News Channel, which is a separate entity.
The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by News Corp, has carried a similar report on its website, citing sources close to the matter.
The article said the role was not expected to be confirmed until later this year.
Peter Rice, the Los Angeles-based head of Fox Networks Group, will report directly to Murdoch, son of News Corp's chairman Rupert Murdoch, both newspapers said.
The reports come after Britain's media regulator on Wednesday blasted the younger Murdoch for failing to uncover the hacking scandal at his father's media empire.
Ofcom had been reviewing whether pay-TV giant BSkyB, which is 39-percent owned by News Corp, was "fit and proper" to hold a broadcasting license in the wake of the scandal.
The watchdog allowed BSkyB to keep broadcasting but said its former chairman James Murdoch "repeatedly fell short" of his responsibilities as executive chairman of his father's British newspaper wing, News International.
"We consider James Murdoch's conduct, including his failure to initiate action on his own account on a number of occasions, to be both difficult to comprehend and ill-judged," it said.
News Corp welcomed Ofcom's decision on BSkyB's license Thursday but defended James Murdoch, saying some of the statements about him were "not at all substantiated by evidence."
He deserved credit for "facilitating the transformation of Sky into Britain's leading pay television and home communications provider", the company said.
The 39-year-old quit as BSkyB chairman in April and as executive chairman of News International in February. He remains a non-executive director of BSkyB and an executive director at the US-based News Corp.
The Wall Street Journal said News Corp had been waiting for "some clarity" on the fallout from the phone hacking scandal in Britain before making a decision on Murdoch's new role.
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