Longtime top Fox executive and close Rupert Murdoch confidant David Hill is stepping down. He will segue to a production venture Hilly, backed by 21st Century Fox, a move reminiscent of former News Corp COO Peter Chernin’s 2009 departure to start The Chernin Co. Hill, whose exit coincides with Murdoch’s pending departure from the helm of 21st Century Fox, most recently served as Senior Executive Vice President for 21st Century Fox, overseeing Fox’s American Idol, which is entering its final season, as well as the National Geographic Channels US. Hill won’t be replaced at Fox, where he will continue working on Idol’s final installment. His future at National Geographic, where he holds a title of Chairman, National Geographic Channels U.S. and is a member of the National Geographic Channels Board of Directors, is expected to be decided by the board, which meets at the end of July.

“David is a dynamic and imaginative leader who has changed the experience of nearly all major sports on three continents,” said Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO, 21st Century Fox. “Whether it was launching Sky Television, the Fox Network, FOX Sports, or the Regional Sports Networks, we owe him an enormous debt for his nearly thirty years of contributions.”

Hill, known as much for his business acumen as for his brash personality, joined News Corporation from the Nine Network Australia in 1988. Since then, he has been involved in the launches of Eurosport, Sky Television, and Sky Sports in the UK. Transferred to Los Angeles in December 1993, Hill oversaw the creation of FOX Sports, the Regional Sports Network, ran the Fox Network, served as President, Entertainment Directv; was Chairman of the National Geographic Channels, as well as executive producer of the last two seasons of the show American Idol.

“It has been an intensely satisfying creative period,” Hill said. “Working for Rupert Murdoch, Chase Carey and Peter Chernin is as good as it gets. Of all the fun parts, the proudest was running the Fox Network in the late ’90s. When I was given responsibility, it lagged in a pitiful fourth place. Working with Peter Roth, Mike Darnell, and a group of fearless television warriors, we took it to #2 by .1 behind NBC by 1999.”