Collier has been named CEO of entertainment for Fox, Fox chief executive Lachlan Murdoch announced Friday in a company-wide memo. The surprise move puts an abrupt cap on Newman’s decades-long career at Fox, where he worked with counterpart Dana Walden to turn 20th Century Fox Television into arguably the most successful studio in television and more recently ran the network with Walden. It also moves Collier, who will report to Murdoch, from AMC Networks, where he helped build AMC into an original programming power on the backs of series such as “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” and “The Walking Dead.”
“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,” Murdoch wrote. “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.
With the Walt Disney Co. set to acquire the bulk of 21st Century Fox, Newman had long been expected to set a deal to remain at so-called New Fox — the company formed from the assets not being bought by Disney — in a leadership position over the broadcast network. Sources close to Newman, however, told Variety that negotiations broke down as the two could not come to terms over the duration of a deal. Newman wanted a short-term agreement that would see him stay at Fox during a transitional period of about one year. Fox wanted a longer commitment.
Newman is said to be considering a launch of his own venture after exiting Fox, and has already had preliminary conversations with potential financiers.
Walden — who is set join Disney to lead its television studio operations as well as networks ABC and Freeform — and Newman will stay in place as co-chairmen and CEOs of Fox Television Group until the Disney transaction closes. The deal is expected to clear its final regulatory hurdle in the first or second quarter of next year.
“I am incredibly gratified by the accomplishments, relationships and legacy we created during my time with the Fox family,” Newman said. “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.”
It was not immediately known how the move will affect AMC Networks, where Collier oversaw the AMC cable channel, AMC Studios, and Sundance TV. The company earlier this year hired veteran Fox executive David Madden as programming president, reporting to Collier, as it looks to revive its originals with “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” having left television and ratings for “The Walking Dead” facing significant declines.
“Charlie Collier is a stellar executive and leader,” said AMC Networks COO Ed Carroll. “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.”
Among the series that Collier developed at AMC are “Fear the Walking Dead,” “Better Call Saul,” “Halt and Catch Fire,” “Humans,” “Into the Badlands,” “Loaded,” “The Night Manager,” “The Son,” and “Preacher.” He joined the company in 2006 as general manager of AMC, having previously worked at Court TV, Oxygen Media, A&E Networks and TeleRep.
Collier’s move to Fox comes as many of the cable channels that a decade ago began to dramatically increase their volume of original scripted fare are now retreating from a space increasingly dominated by streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. His joins Fox at a time when the company is set to devote more primetime hours to live sports than any other broadcast network on the heels of major deals with the NFL and WWE.
Read Murdoch’s full memo below:
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.
Attached is the press release announcing Charlie’s appointment. Please join me in welcoming him to the company.