Fox Sports Media Group has named Scott Ackerson, EVP and Executive Producer for FSMG, as interim president of cable channel Speed, beginning Jan. 1. He will succeed Hunter Nickell who departs at the end of this month. “Moving forward, every program at Speed has to be of the same high quality you’d find on Fox Sports, and Scott can make that happen,” Fox Sports Media Group Chairman David Hill said. “In addition to overseeing all of Fox Sports’ studio production, Scott led the most successful, most-watched, NFL pregame show for 17 years, and his many talents will benefit Speed on-air immediately.” In addition to his new duties at Speed, Ackerson will continue in his current role at FSMG.
Fox And DirecTV Reach New Carriage Agreement For Cable Networks As Well As Fox Broadcasting & Fox News Channel
Following marathon negotiations, and with only a few hours to spare before the midnight deadline tonight, Fox and DirecTV have reached a new carriage agreement. The deal covers not only all Fox Networks that were in danger of going dark on DirecTV systems tonight — FX, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Speed, Fuel TV, Fox Soccer, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Deportes and Fox’s regional sports networks — but also Fox Broadcasting/the Fox local stations, whose deal with DirecTV was up at the end of the year, and Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, whose agreement was up at the end of January. “We both know the past ten days have been challenging, but we’re pleased that both sides could eventually come together to ensure our viewers continue to enjoy Fox programming,” the two sides said in a joint statement. No information on the financials of the deal was released. DirecTV previously claimed that Fox was seeking a 40% hike, something the other side dismissed as ridiculous. According to sources, Fox has landed a healthy double-digit license fee increases in the new deal, which was closed early because all executives involved have small children and had to go do trick-or-treating. The power of little kids in Halloween costumes …
With a November 1 deadline looming, News Corp. today purchased a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times sports section warning DirecTV customers that the satcaster was poised to drop nine networks if Fox’s dispute with DirecTV isn’t settled by month’s end. The full-color ad featured the heavy-handed banner ‘GAME OVER’ along with game pictures of USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins football and Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks ice hockey, all of which are threatened should the regional sports networks Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket be dropped. The ad then lists the networks that DirecTV could force to go dark: FS West, Prime Ticket, FX, Speed, National Geographic Channel, Fox Soccer, Fox Deportes, Fuel TV and Fox Movie Channel. “And soon,” the advertisement continues, “you could even lose Fox 11 and My 13,” specifically targeting viewers in Southern California. The Times ad then implores sports fans to “Get direct with DirecTV” by logging onto KeepMyNets.com or calling 866-KEEP-MY-NETS. As reported Thursday by Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva, DirecTV claims in its statement that Fox is seeking a 40% increase in its license fees.
Another major carriage dispute threatens to pull Fox’s cable networks from DirecTV systems on November 1. The affected networks include FX (including its hit Sons Of Anarchy and hot newcomer American Horror Story), National Geographic Channel, Speed, Fuel TV, Fox Soccer, Fox Movie Channel, Fox Deportes, and the 19 Fox regional sports networks. Fox Networks’ previous carriage agreement with DirecTV expired on September 30. After extending the talks, no progress was made, leading to a standoff between the two sides that may lead to the blackout. Exactly a year ago, the same networks went dark on DirecTV’s rival satcaster Dish Network before the two sides finally reached a new agreement. Like in previous carriage fights, both sides released dueling statements and launched competing websites — KeepMyNets.com (Fox) and OurPromiseToYou.com (DirecTV). In its statement, DirecTV claims that Fox is seeking a 40% license-fee increase. Here are the two statements: