Longtime publicity chief named exec VP

Fox Broadcasting has filled its top marketing job, naming longtime publicity chief Joe Earley to the gig.

As exec VP of marketing and communications, Earley will continue to oversee the net’s publicity and corporate communications, as well as its creative services department. But he’ll now be in charge of all Fox marketing functions as well — including on-air promotion, print advertising, national media, affiliate marketing and national promotions.

Earley fills the void left last week when former Fox marketing topper Chris Carlisle, whose contract had expired, ankled the network to take the top marketing job at New Line.

Earley reports to Fox Entertainment chairman Peter Liguori.

“In my last few years of working with him, (Earley has) demonstrated keen creative instincts, a strong strategic approach and great showmanship,” Liguori said.

Earley is already well acquainted with Fox’s marketing team, having worked closely with that group in devising various network strategies.

“Most of the people who are the department heads, I’ve had the pleasure of working with for years,” he said.

New structure plants Fox’s marketing and publicity departments under the same roof for the first time in three years.

“We’re reuniting the two major areas responsible for communicating Fox to the outside world,” Earley said. “The two sides will be working in tandem.”

Until 2004, the publicity staff did report to the marketing department — but network insiders said the structure was more of a dotted line, and that the two sides essentially operated with complete independence. (Connecting with the public and with the media require different skills, and marketing chiefs are frequently not as interested in the less-flashy world of publicity and corporate communications.)

But now, for the first time, the marketing and publicity teams will be run by an exec with experience in both worlds.

“In an ever-expanding media environment, marketing and communications must, now more than ever, work hand-in-hand to be effective,” Liguori said. “Joe is one of the few executives in this business who truly understands that synergy.”

Having risen through the publicity ranks, Earley admitted he needed to study up on the day-to-day details of running a 150-member marketing team.

“There will definitely be a big learning curve in terms of the details of marketing campaigns, from the creative side and the business side,” he said. There’s also the “media planning and everything from national promotions to the brave new world of content that we have been working out this season.”

Earley will be able to rely on the experience of Liguori, who’s considered a master marketer and is starting to focus on larger, strategic network issues as entertainment chairman now that Kevin Reilly has joined Fox as entertainment prexy.

Earley is taking over marketing oversight on the eve of the fall season; the exec will have to quickly get up to speed on Fox’s launch campaign.

Net also is still mulling whether to continue the recently launched inhouse ad agency Fox Infinity or revert back to a traditional marketing department. Speculation centers on changes at Fox.com, where content strategy senior VP Bill Bradford is expected to take over the website.

“I see the value in the restructure and the spirit of it and will keep the part that is working for everyone and reexamine anything that isn’t,” Earley said.

Meanwhile, on the publicity and creative service side, which numbers about 40 staffers, VP Shannon Ryan is expected to take an expanded role inside the department, while Scott Grogin continues as senior VP of corporate communications.

Earley was named exec VP three years ago; he first joined Fox as a senior publicist in 1994 and worked his way up from there. Prior to Fox, he worked in HBO Media Relations. Earley began his career working in feature-film production and development with producer Gale Anne Hurd.

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