In a surprise move, Fox will call on AMC president Charlie Collier to take over its transmission network in several months, the company announced Friday.
In Hollywood it had been widely assumed that Gary Newman, one of the executive directors of Fox Television Group, would continue in the position. But Mr. Newman told Fox he would be left alone during this television season, which ends in May. Lachlan Murdoch, who will be the executive director of the new Fox, did not want to wait that long to find a replacement.
Collier, a cable professional, has been president of AMC for a decade and helped shepherd hits such as "The Walking Dead", "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul". His new title will be executive entertainment director at Zorro.
It is the last change in a sweeping moment of executive rotation for the transmission networks. Leslie Moonves, the former head of CBS, was expelled last month after numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against him. On Thursday, Showtime CEO David Nevins was named director of content for CBS, where he will oversee network executives.
NBC Entertainment Chief Robert Greenblatt stepped aside last month and was replaced by two Lieutenant veterans, Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks.
And the imminent sale of much of 21st Century Fox to Walt Disney Company is causing a big change at Fox and ABC, which is owned by Disney.
When the sale is complete, Dana Walden, executive co-director of the Fox television group with Mr. Newman, will move to Disney, where she will supervise, in part, ABC's entertainment executives. She will report to Fox's executive, Peter Rice, who will be in charge of most of Disney's television properties.
Cable channels such as FX and National Geographic, along with Fox's film and television studios, are directed to Disney. Fox's broadcast network, including Fox News and Fox Business Channel, will remain under the control of the Murdoch family.
And now Mr. Collier will take over there. AMC, which he joined after working on Court TV, has had a long series of programs that were loved critics and mammoth hits. But the ratings of one of those hits, "The Walking Dead", have fallen precipitously in recent months, and AMC has had trouble finding an adequate replacement.
The Fox network, whose ratings have exploded this season thanks to "Thursday Night Football," was expected to rely heavily on live event programming once it got divorced from its television studio. But Mr. Collier's appointment strongly suggests that he is not giving up the scripted television business.
Fox has found some momentum in his lineup on Friday night, particularly with the revived "Last Man Standing," starring Tim Allen, and a new series, "The Cool Kids." They both received a full season order.
The leadership of AMC, which includes Josh Sapan as executive director and David Madden as chief of programming, will remain in place. The cable network does not have a replacement for Mr. Collier yet.
In a statement, Mr. Newman, who will leave Fox when the Disney deal closes, said: "Charlie is a longtime friend and colleague, and will inherit a team of passionate and incredibly talented executives." This transition accelerated allows me to look for new opportunities in my own timeline with the comfort that I am leaving the network in capable hands ".
In his own statement, Mr. Collier said: "I can not imagine a more exciting next step than this new role on Fox, which combines the power and reach of a transmission division, some of the best live assets on the planet of which to create entertainment audiences and fan participation, and a proven leadership team with a start-up mindset of "create new rules".