Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc. appointed former NBC and AOL Inc. executive Randy Falco as its chief executive, capping a three-month search, according to people familiar with the matter.

We discussed the lilelyhood of Mr. Falco taking over the CEO position in a recent analysis column (Univision – A New CEO for it’s IPO?. Univsion is expected to go public in 2012 and Mr. Falco is seen as an investor friendly CEO. Mr. Falco, who became Univision's chief operating officer early this year, had been a leading candidate for the role since Univision's former chief executive, Joe Uva, said in March he would leave.  Members of Univision's board at the time said they saw Mr. Falco as a potential leader and that was part of the thinking in tapping him as operating chief.

Mr. Falco's hiring comes less than a year after Mexican media behemoth Grupo Televisa took a 5% stake in the company in a deal that extended Univision's U.S. rights to popular programming produced by Televisa. Univision was taken private in 2007, as part of a buyout by a group of investors led by Haim Saban.

Since Mr. Falco, 57 years old, joined the company, Univision has moved to broaden its portfolio of cable channels, including new Spanish-language channels for sports, news and telenovelas, a popular genre of soap operas.  The flagship Univision broadcast network has the fifth-largest prime-time audience of all U.S. television channels, at 3.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen Co.

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