This article was updated at 7:36 p.m.
Just weeks after ankling the top syndication job at NBC, Ed Wilson has landed at Fox Broadcasting, where he’ll serve as president of Fox Television Network.
Wilson had been rumored to be in line for a gig at Fox soon after he left the Peacock (Daily Variety, April 26). At Fox he’ll oversee affiliate relations, ad sales, legal, broadcast standards and Fox Entertainment Group’s integrated marketing operations.
Wilson will report to Fox Networks Group president-CEO Tony Vinciquerra, who made the announcement Tuesday.
Vinciquerra said Wilson’s experience with station groups and ad sales was what he was looking for in filling the long-vacant position.
“Ed’s background and his experience meld well with this job,” he said. “(He’s) one of the most gifted operational executives in the television business.”
The timing worked out well: Wilson’s contract with NBC was drawing to a close just as Vinciquerra was thinking about bringing in a new head of the network.
Wilson fills a job that has been vacant since Vinciquerra was promoted in June 2002 to oversee operations for News Corp.’s broadcast web and cable channels.
“It was about a year ago that I started thinking I had too many people reporting to me, and I wasn’t paying enough attention to the small details,” Vinciquerra said. “I was thinking about how to restructure and came up with a few different models.”
According to Wilson and Vinciquerra, the two met for lunch about a month ago; soon after, they started seriously discussing bringing Wilson over to Fox.
Even though he didn’t mention it late last month, as he announced his departure from NBC, Wilson said the Fox gig was the deciding factor in his decision to leave.
That timeline would appear to debunk speculation that NBC had erred in losing Wilson; clearly the exec had already been pondering a departure.
“I was very fortunate, fate was on my side the day that Tony and I had lunch,” Wilson said. “It was time to make a change, and when I sat down with him, I thought, ‘This would really be fun.’ I’ll learn something new, work with a company that I have tremendous respect for and still be able to do business with people I know.”
Wilson and Vinciquerra aren’t strangers; both worked at CBS back when Wilson was head of Eyemark/CBS Enterprises and Vinciquerra ran the Eye’s station group. And while leading NBC Enterprises, Wilson partnered with the Hearst Argyle station group — then time run by Vinciquerra — in a station/network joint venture.
Wilson joins Fox on the eve of the network upfronts; exec said he plans to get a crash course in the broadcast marketplace from Fox sales prexy Jon Nesvig.
Move also makes good on Wilson’s promise to leave the syndication business, where he spent several decades at shops including Columbia TriStar TV Distribution and CBS Enterprises/Eyemark. Wilson most recently spent four years as president of NBC Enterprises, where he helped launch the net’s domestic syndication operations, among other duties.
Meanwhile, NBC Enterprises exec VP Barry Wallach is still in line to replace Wilson as head of the merged NBC Universal’s syndication operations (Daily Variety, May 3).