New Fox chairman and CEO Lachlan Murdoch looked outside for a leader of the soon-to-be independent Fox broadcasting network that will emerge after Disney’s acquisition of key Fox assets. AMC President and General Manager Charlie Collier has been named CEO of Entertainment. He will start Nov. 1, reporting to Murdoch who just made the announcement in an internal memo, obtained by Deadline. You can read it under the story.
Fox TV Group chairman and CEO Gary Newman, who had been in negotiations to stay on and oversee the broadcast network as it ushers in a new era, will be leaving after helping with the transition. Fellow Fox TV Group chairman and CEO Dana Walden also will be departing for a high-level job at the combined Disney-Fox TV operation.
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Collier, who is expected to be bicoastal, keeping a home base in New York, will lead Fox’s entertainment programming strategy across live, scripted and non-scripted content. His appointment was the missing piece, the final in a string of announcements as Fox has set the senior leadership for the slimmed-down company that will be spun off following Disney’s $71.3 billions acquisition.
“Charlie is a singular talent, combining creative success with operational expertise to lead the AMC Network with some of television’s most memorable programming,” said Murdoch. “Charlie’s skills and experience will help Fox continue to transform the broadcast television business.”
There will be no immediate replacement for Collier at AMC where he oversaw the network’s foray into original programming with such hit series as Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead and subsequently added SundanceTV to his portfolio and launched AMC Studios. AMC Networks has top-level executives in David Madden, who coincidentally moved to AMC from Fox, where he was entertainment president, and BBC America’s Sarah Barnett.
Negotiations between Newman and New Fox had been difficult, with the two sides wrangling over the length and other terms of the deal. Talks had recently stalled, and rumors started circulating yesterday of a possible collapse, while the Fox leadership continued to meet with outside candidates who would come in and lead the rebuilding of the network, bringing a fresh perspective to the startup venture, which I hear could explore launching a studio to succeed 20th Century Fox TV. Collier had been under contract but I hear that his exit was resolved quicker than expected, accelerating the executive decision.
“I am incredibly gratified by the accomplishments, relationships and legacy we created during my time with the Fox family,” Newman said in a statement. “Charlie is a longtime friend and colleague and he will be inheriting a team of passionate and incredibly talented executives. This accelerated transition allows me to pursue new opportunities on my own timeline with the comfort I am leaving the network in capable hands.”
FBC is going through a seismic transition from a vertically integrated broadcast network, part of a big entertainment conglom, to an independent network in the portfolio of a much leaner New Fox. FBC’s two top creative executives, Entertainment President Michael Thorn and Alternative Entertainment President Rob Wade, are positioned to stay on for the time being.
FBC is having a strong fall, posting the only year-to-year ratings increase among the Big 4 networks, fueled by returning hits Empire and 911, the addition of Thursday Night Football and the Last Man Standing revival. Fox was No.1 in adults 18-49 for three consecutive nights of Premiere Week and was up year vs. year even without football.
“I can’t imagine a more exciting next step than this new role at FOX, which combines the power and reach of a broadcast division, some of the best live assets on the planet from which to build entertainment audiences and fan engagement, and a proven leadership team with a ‘make new rules’ start-up mentality.,” Collier said. “I’m proud of my last decade-plus at AMC Networks as the combination of a remarkable team and world-class talent led a transformation of AMCN into both a thriving global entertainment company and a premier original programmer.”
As President and General Manager, Collier oversaw the creative and business operations of AMC, SundanceTV, and AMC Studios. He joined AMC as General Manager in 2006 and was promoted to President in 2008; he was named to the SundanceTV post in April 2015. He previously held senior roles at Oxygen, A&E Networks and TeleRep.
“Charlie Collier is a stellar executive and leader,” said Ed Carroll, COO of AMC Networks. “This is a great opportunity for him and we know he will make an enormous contribution to this new venture. We will miss him and are so thankful for his many achievements here over the past decade, helping to build AMC into a powerful brand and force in original programming, and to build AMC Studios into a robust entity producing outstanding content across our portfolio of national networks. We wish him great success.”
Along with Walden, Newman has run 20th Century Fox TV since 1999. In 2014, the two added the Fox broadcast network to their portfolio.
21st Century Fox announced in May that Lachlan Murdoch will serve as chairman and chief executive of “New Fox,” with Rupert Murdoch serving as co-chairman of new company alongside his son. John Nallen, Fox’s current chief financial officer, will assume a broader role as chief operating officer.
Here is Murdoch’s memo:
I’m writing to share the exciting news that AMC’s President and General Manager Charlie Collier has been appointed as FOX’s Chief Executive Officer of Entertainment.
In this role, Mr. Collier will oversee the Fox Broadcasting Network and lead the Company’s entertainment programming strategy across live, scripted and non-scripted content. During Charlie’s tenure at AMC he oversaw increases in all notable business metrics including revenue and ratings. Under his leadership the network was transformed with cultural and critical hits including the Emmy Award-winning “Mad Men,” and “Breaking Bad,” and “The Walking Dead,” the highest-rated basic cable program in the history of television, and many more original and scripted programming hits. Collier is recognized as a veteran cable network executive also having held senior roles at Oxygen, A&E Networks and TeleRep.\
While we are thrilled to welcome Charlie to FOX, we also want to express our sincerest gratitude for the immeasurable contributions from current Chairmen and CEOs of the Fox Television Group Dana Walden and Gary Newman. Dana and Gary are both incredible talents who have earned their place among the most successful executives in our industry. I want to personally thank them for their creative vision, leadership and dedication to the network where they will be greatly missed. Dana and Gary will remain in their current roles until the close of the transaction and I hope you will join me in expressing deep appreciation for their work on behalf of the network and best wishes in their next chapters.
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