Earley, who joined the network as a senior publicist in 1994, rose to President of Marketing and Communications and then COO of Fox before being named COO of the Fox TV Group in the summer 2014 executive restructuring that saw Dana Walden and Gary Newman add oversight of Fox to their duties as chairmen of 20th Century Fox TV. Earley continued to run marketing for the network until Angela Courtin was brought in as EVP and Chief Marketing Officer in July. He has shepherded some of the most successful TV launch campaigns in the past few years, including Glee, New Girl, which included then-groundbreaking VOD partnerships, and megahit Empire earlier this year.
“Because of the entrepreneurial spirit that pervades Fox, and the incredible support of the teams across the network, I have been afforded unbelievable opportunities for growth and new experiences,” Earley said. “I’m very grateful to Dana Walden, Gary Newman and Peter Rice for their leadership and friendship, and for inviting me to join them at the Fox Television Group, which has allowed me to also appreciate the impressive team on the studio side. All of this new opportunity, however, as rewarding as it is, has led me further and further from the creative process, which is really where my heart wants to be. So, while I will miss my extended Fox family terribly, it is time for me to pursue the proverbial, ‘next chapter.’ As a former publicist, I thought I would never use that phrase, but it turns out that sometimes it’s true.”
Earley, who is well liked within the Fox Networks Group run by Peter Rice, oversaw development and programming at Fox for six months before and after the departure of entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly. The president of entertainment job eventually went to David Madden, with Earley given a broader role within the Fox TV Group, joining chairmen and CEOs Walden and Newman’s executive suite. After several months in the job, Earley approached Walden and Newman early this year about leaving. The three discussed his exit to assure an orderly transition, with leadership of the departments under his purview shored up, including Courtin’s appointment. All will now report directly to Walden and Newman. Earley oversaw Fox’s marketing and communications operations, digital, research, talent relations, scheduling and audience strategy.
“Joe is one of the most talented executives and gifted leaders we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, so we are saddened that he has decided to step down,” said Walden and Newman. “We have been discussing his desire to get closer to the creative process for a while now, and although we would love for him to stay at Fox for another 21 years, we understand and fully support his plans to take on new challenges.” (You can read their internal memo on Earley’s departure below)
Added Peter Rice, Chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group, “I have been fortunate to work with Joe for nearly seven years, and one of the things I admire most about him is the deep level of trust and confidence he’s built with our creators, talent and industry peers. His sharp business sense, passion for creativity and ability to inspire and mobilize teams have made him an extraordinary and beloved executive here at Fox – and he will undoubtedly have that same impact no matter what path he chooses to take next.”
Dana Walden and Gary Newman’s email:
In a few minutes, we will be sending out the release below announcing that our dear friend, Joe Earley, has decided to step down from his position as COO of Fox Television Group. Joe has been part of the fabric of our network for 21 years, as both an executive and a mentor, so we wanted all of you to be the first to know.
This is a really tough day, both for us and for Joe. When we first came over to the network, Joe was one of the first executives we met with, because we knew how important he was to our organization. We elevated him to Chief Operating Officer of the combined network-studio business shortly thereafter, and for the past year, he’s done a phenomenal job of driving greater collaboration and strategic thinking across both teams.
But at his core, Joe’s greatest passion lies in the creative. We’ve been discussing his desire to get closer to the creative process for a number of months, and ultimately, he decided it was time to leave to pursue the next chapter in his career.
Joe is such a talented executive and gifted leader, and we’re really going to miss him, both personally and professionally. We would love for him to stay at Fox for 21 more years, but we understand and fully support his plans to take on new challenges.
It was important to Joe and to us that we got through the Fall launches and had strong marketing leadership in place before he stepped down. This is why we brought on Angela Courtin to take the reigns as CMO. She’s been working closely with Joe to ensure there is a smooth transition, and Joe will remain here until December to make sure that everything has been handed off properly.
This is obviously very sad news for us, but we take comfort in knowing that Joe has built the most outstanding team in the business. For those of you who are part of the FBC marketing group, you have proven time and time again that you are creative, strategic and unafraid to push boundaries – and we have the utmost confidence in you.
Again, we are so grateful to Joe for his partnership, strategic insight and all of his contributions to the company, and we look forward to working with him again soon.
Dana and Gary