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Fox Networks rejigs sales under Fraser, Thomas exits

Simon Thomas has left Fox Networks Group as part of a rejig that sees Prentiss Fraser lead a new-look sales arm, Fox Networks Group Content Distribution, TBI understands.

Prentiss_eOneThomas was executive VP, global sports and content sales at Fox International Channels Content Sales, but has left after 21st Century Fox decided to scrap the Fox International Channels division and move all its international networks into the Fox Networks Group banner.

Fraser, who joined FICCS in 2014 from Entertainment One Television, will lead FNGCD as senior VP and global head of content distribution, according to sources close to the development.

Thomas is thought to be considering launching his own business, likely in the sports rights space in which he has spent much of his career.

FNGCD is the new corporate identity that will sell National Geographic Channels programming and all Fox content produced or owned by its international networks. In effect, it replaces FICCS, which came into being in 2014, and will debut as a brand at MIPCOM next month.

The reporting structure will see FNGCD sit under Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, the LA-based studio sales arm that shops US series such as Modern Family, Empire and 24. Mark Kaner leads that unit as president.

“Following the news in January about the Fox International Channels being organised under the Fox Networks Group banner, the distribution arm changed its name to Fox Networks Group Content Distribution,” a Fox statement issue to TBI read.

“Fox Networks Group Content Distribution continues to distribute all programming commissioned and owned by National Geographic [such as Mars and Killing Reagan], and the Fox Network Groups channels [Wayward Pines, Outcast] where Fox Network Groups retains distribution rights.”

At the LA Screenings earlier this year, TBI revealed another top Fox sales executive, Steve Cornish, was retiring, with senior VP, sales and development Dave Smyth taking over his role at Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution.

This all comes after Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox acquired a majority of its Nat Geo joint venture, creating National Geographic Partners, and ten merged Fox International Channels into its US-focused Fox Networks Group business.

This led to the exit of FIC president Hernan Lopez, and the promotion of Jan Koeppen in Europe and Africa, Carlos Martinez in Latin America and Zubin Gandevia in Asia to regional president positions.

FNGCD will be in Cannes at MIPCOM with series such as Mars, Killing Reagan and Continent Seven: Antarctica.