Media magnate Rupert Murdoch has appointed one of his most trusted lieutenants to head the new arm of his US satellite TV operation, DirecTV.

David Hill, currently chairman and ceo of Murdoch's Fox Sports TV group, will be president of DirecTV Entertainment Group, with a brief to inject some pazazz into programming.

His challenge is to revamp the program guide, develop exclusive shows and create interactive offerings. DirecTV has nearly 14 million subscribers.

He acknowledges it will probably take around two years to develop enough programming to sustain a DirecTV entertainment channel, ambitiously proclaiming his goal is to create one as respected and innovative as Time Warner's HBO.

He adds: "If we get this right, it's going to be a hoot. We will be pushing back the boundaries of television."

The appointment reflects Murdoch's desire to build up DirecTV and his frustration at things not moving swiftly enough. The company's president Mitchell Stern resigned earlier this month [WAMN: 09-Mar-05].

Hill (58) will now report to DirecTV ceo Chase Carey with whom he worked on the creation of Fox Sports in 1994. He remains chairman of the channel but gives up management duties.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff