Fox TV Group COO Joe Earley to Step Down

Joe Earley Headshot - P 2012
Brian Bowen Smith/FOX

Joe Earley Headshot - P 2012

The veteran exec will remain with the company through the end of the year.

Joe Earley is moving on.

The veteran Fox executive will exit at the year's end. The news comes some 14 months after Earley had been upped to his current role as COO of the Fox TV Group. At that time, he segued out of a creative role he had embraced to focus on such things as strategic initiatives across the company's divisions under new chiefs Dana Walden and Gary Newman. 

“Over the past 21 years, I've had the great fortune of working alongside some of the most talented and inspiring people in the business, from my co-workers and bosses, to the talent on our shows, both in front of and behind the camera,” Earley said in a statement announcing the news on Thursday, before adding: “Because of the entrepreneurial spirit that pervades FOX, and the incredible support of the teams across the network, I have been afforded unbelievable opportunities for growth and new experiences. I'm very grateful to Dana Walden, Gary Newman and Peter Rice for their leadership and friendship, and for inviting me to join them at the Fox Television Group, which has allowed me to also appreciate the impressive team on the studio side. All of this new opportunity, however, as rewarding as it is, has led me further and further from the creative process, which is really where my heart wants to be. So, while I will miss my extended FOX family terribly, it is time for me to pursue the proverbial ‘next chapter.’ As a former publicist, I thought I would never use that phrase, but it turns out that sometimes it's true."

In his two-plus decade tenure at the company, the Chicago native has worn many hats. Most recently, the broad-ranging job entailed having oversight of marketing and communications, digital, research, talent relations, scheduling and audience strategy on the broadcast network side, while partnering with 20th TV's development, production, business affairs, marketing and finance leads on strategic initiatives as well as publicity and talent relations at the studio. Under Newman and Walden predecessor Kevin Reilly, Earley had added additional creative programming duties. Earlier in his career at Fox, he served in top marketing and publicity roles. 

“Joe is one of the most talented executives and gifted leaders we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, so we are saddened that he has decided to step down. We have been discussing his desire to get closer to the creative process for a while now, and although we would love for him to stay at Fox for another 21 years, we understand and fully support his plans to take on new challenges. We are extremely grateful to Joe for his partnership, strategic insight and all of his contributions to the company, and we know we’ll be working with him again soon," said Newman and Walden in a joint statement. 

Added Rice, “I have been fortunate to work with Joe for nearly seven years, and one of the things I admire most about him is the deep level of trust and confidence he’s built with our creators, talent and industry peers. His sharp business sense, passion for creativity and ability to inspire and mobilize teams have made him an extraordinary and beloved executive here at Fox — and he will undoubtedly have that same impact no matter what path he chooses to take next.”

Earley is said to have had Walden, Newman and Rice's support in his decision to move on when he approached them earlier this year. To secure a smooth transition, hires and promotions have been made in recent months. In late July, for instance, FBC announced they had hired former Relativity executive Angela Courtin to serve as Fox's CMO. Though Earley does not have a next act lined up yet, the highly regarded marketing guru will look to move back into the creative space. 

Below is the internal memo from Walden and Newman.

In a few minutes, we will be sending out the release below announcing that our dear friend, Joe Earley, has decided to step down from his position as COO of Fox Television Group. Joe has been part of the fabric of our network for 21 years, as both an executive and a mentor, so we wanted all of you to be the first to know. 

This is a really tough day, both for us and for Joe. When we first came over to the network, Joe was one of the first executives we met with, because we knew how important he was to our organization. We elevated him to Chief Operating Officer of the combined network-studio business shortly thereafter, and for the past year, he’s done a phenomenal job of driving greater collaboration and strategic thinking across both teams.  

But at his core, Joe’s greatest passion lies in the creative. We’ve been discussing his desire to get closer to the creative process for a number of months, and ultimately, he decided it was time to leave to pursue the next chapter in his career.

Joe is such a talented executive and gifted leader, and we’re really going to miss him, both personally and professionally. We would love for him to stay at Fox for 21 more years, but we understand and fully support his plans to take on new challenges. 

It was important to Joe and to us that we got through the Fall launches and had strong marketing leadership in place before he stepped down. This is why we brought on Angela Courtin to take the reigns as CMO.  She’s been working closely with Joe to ensure there is a smooth transition, and Joe will remain here until December to make sure that everything has been handed off properly.

This is obviously very sad news for us, but we take comfort in knowing that Joe has built the most outstanding team in the business. For those of you who are part of the FBC marketing group, you have proven time and time again that you are creative, strategic and unafraid to push boundaries and we have the utmost confidence in you. 

Again, we are so grateful to Joe for his partnership, strategic insight and all of his contributions to the company, and we look forward to working with him again soon.

Dana and Gary