Fox promotes Joe Earley to COO

Marketing chief upped to No. 2 post at network

Fox Broadcasting Co. has promoted Joe Earley to the new position of COO, second in command at the network beneath newly elevated chairman of entertainment Kevin Reilly.

Previously president of marketing and communications at Fox, Earley will now extend his oversight to all areas of the network, including programming, research, digital and business affairs.

Earley’s promotion to chief operating officer is the latest in a series of executive shifts at the network set in motion by the elevation last month of Peter Rice to chairman-CEO of Fox Networks Group. Weeks later, Reilly was promoted from president of entertainment to chairman, which prompted speculation that he would need a chief lieutenant to help lead Fox going forward.

“Joe is not only an inspired and creative marketing strategist, but he should own the patent on the concept of ‘team builder,'” Reilly said. “He is a dynamic leader who inspires partnership and a sense of collective purpose across our entire company, and that’s why I am privileged to have Joe at my side guiding FOX as our COO.”

Installing a COO is something of a departure from the usual broadcast-net hierarchy, which typically involves a chairman and a president in the top two positions. Earley is expected to focus more on the operational aspects of the network while Reilly concentrates on the creative, though there will be plenty of overlap between the two.

Earley has been at Fox since 1994, rising through the ranks of the network’s publicity division. He was named president of marketing and communications in 2010. In that time, he’s spearheaded promotional efforts for both the network’s overall branding and individual hits from “Glee” to “New Girl.”

“I am incredibly grateful for this amazing opportunity, which Kevin and Peter have given me,” Earley said. “Having been at Fox for almost two decades, it’s been a privilege to work alongside the most creative, innovative and driven executives in the business; and I’m excited about where we — collectively — are taking the network.”

It remains to be seen whether Earley’s promotion will create a vacancy in marketing and communications, which still report to him. Three exec VPs are in place across those groups: Shannon Ryan, Laurel Bernard and Brian Dollenmayer.

Mike Darnell, president of alternative entertainment, will continue reporting directly to Reilly.