The TV executive who found only sunset at NBC’s “Today” has discovered sunshine at 21st Century Fox.
Jamie Horowitz, the onetime ESPN executive who joined NBC News to help move the unit’s “Today” morning show out of its second-place roost against ABC’s “Good Morning America,” will take the reins of Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2, 21st Century Fox announced Thursday.
Horowitz was named president of Fox Sports National Networks, a new position, and will oversee all programming, marketing and scheduling for the two sports outlets. Horowitz will report to Eric Shanks, president and chief operating officer and executive producer at Fox Sports. He will also manage and develop original programming and day-to-day operations for Fox Sports 1’s news and studio programs, including Fox Sports Live, the channel’s flagship nightly news, highlights and commentary program. Horowitz will be based in Los Angeles and is expected to assume his new position in mid-May.
The executive shuffle caps off a pinball trajectory for Horowitz, who was once seen to be so valuable to NBC that the network agreed to let a senior producer at MSNBC take a new job at ABC’s “The View” if only parent company Disney would release Horowitz early from his duties at ESPN.
Horowitz was to have been the senior manager of “Today,” which has been stuck in second place behind “GMA.” In June 2012 the NBC program broadcast a mawkish farewell from former co-host Ann Curry, who did not mesh well with longtime “Today” anchor Matt Lauer. NBC’s handling of the matter prompted a viewer backlash, and NBC News has worked to gain more ground for the toast-and-coffee franchise. Horowitz was said to want to make radical changes to the program, resulting in pushback from staff. He also reportedly clashed with NBC News president Deborah Turness, who pronounced in a memo in November that Horowitz “is not the right fit.”
Fox appears to think better of him.
“Fox Sports 1 is the fastest-growing sports channel in the country, and we’ve seen about a 30% viewership increase overall, and 50% increase for live events, year over year,” Shanks said in a prepared statement. ” That substantial growth has made it necessary to more clearly define our organizational structure so we’re better positioned for long-term success. Bringing an extremely creative executive like Jamie aboard to oversee our national cable channels ties everything together.”
At ESPN Horowitz developed a reputation for provocative sports programs, overseeing budgets and production for programs like “Olbermann,” “SportsNation” and “Colin’s New Football Show.”