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October 15, 2013

Hulu Head Expected to be Fox's Hopkins

The industry digested the news Fri that veteran Fox exec Mike Hopkins is set to be named as the new CEO of online streaming service Hulu. The Bloomberg scoop still wasn't official at our deadline, but it had already reached mainstream acceptance.

The Fox Nets distribution pres may not have been at the top of everyone's mind for the post, but it makes a lot of sense. Beyond the obvious Fox connection (Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast-NBCU all have stakes in Hulu), Hopkins has a reputation as a consensus builder—a skill that should come in especially handy in dealing with the 3 media giant owners.

In addition to orchestrating deals for the newly launched Fox Sports and FXX, Hopkins was a peacemaker in getting broadcast affiliates to buy in to reverse retrans, calming friction between the stations and network. His anticipated appointment also kicks up speculation that Hulu will be used to form a national TV Everywhere offering for the industry (didn't John Malone just call for MSOs to create a national TVE answer?). Hulu has been without a permanent CEO since Jason Kilar resigned in Mar. Andy Forssell, Hulu's svp of content, distribution, has been serving as chief in the interim.

As for Fox, anything is possible, but it's widely believed that Fox Nets evp, distribution Mike Biard would step into Hopkins' role. Fox is big on promoting within, after all. Biard joined the programmer in '00, assuming his current duties in '10. Fox Nets distribution team recently lost longtime exec Sean Riley. The svp, distribution and marketing left in Sept after nearly 16 years with the company. He's in a full-time consultancy role at 1 Mainstream, a start-up with a software platform that lets content providers and MVPDs create their own TVE apps and deploy them across multiple devices.

ED NOTE: This story originally appeared in CableFAX Daily. Go here to subscribe.







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