In a surprise move, Fox will turn to AMC’s president, Charlie Collier, to take over its broadcast network in several months, the company announced Friday.
It had been widely assumed in Hollywood that Gary Newman, a co-chief executive of the Fox Television Group, would continue in the job. But Mr. Newman indicated to Fox that he would stay only through this television season, which ends in May. Lachlan Murdoch, who will be chief executive at the new Fox, did not want to wait that long to find a replacement.
Mr. Collier, a career cable man, has been president of AMC for a decade, and helped shepherd hits like “The Walking Dead,” “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul.” His new title will be chief executive of entertainment at Fox.
It’s the latest change at a time of sweeping executive turnover for the broadcast networks. Leslie Moonves, the longtime head of CBS, was forced out last month after numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against him. On Thursday, Showtime’s chief executive, David Nevins, was named chief content officer of CBS, where he will oversee the network’s executives.
NBC’s entertainment head, Robert Greenblatt, stepped aside last month and was replaced by two veteran lieutenants, Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks.
And the imminent sale of much of 21st Century Fox to the Walt Disney Company is causing huge change at Fox and ABC, which is owned by Disney.
When the sale is completed, Dana Walden, the co-chief executive of the Fox television group with Mr. Newman, will move to Disney, where she will oversee, in part, ABC’s entertainment executives. She will report to the longtime Fox executive Peter Rice, who will be in charge of most of Disney’s television properties.
Cable channels like FX and National Geographic, along with Fox’s television and movie studios, are heading to Disney. The Fox broadcast network, along with Fox News and the Fox Business Network, will stay under the control of the Murdoch family.
And now Mr. Collier will take over the Fox network. AMC, which he joined after working at Court TV, has had a long run of shows that were critical darlings and mammoth hits. But the ratings for one of those smashes, “The Walking Dead,” have dropped precipitously in recent months, and AMC has had trouble finding a suitable replacement.
The Fox network, whose ratings have exploded this season thanks to “Thursday Night Football,” was expected to lean heavily on live event programming once it was divorced from its television studio. But the appointment of Mr. Collier strongly suggests that it is not giving up the scripted television business.
Fox has found some momentum from its Friday night lineup, particularly with the revived “Last Man Standing,” starring Tim Allen, and a new series, “The Cool Kids.” Both have been given a full season order.
AMC’s leadership — which includes Josh Sapan as chief executive and David Madden as head of programming — will otherwise stay 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 is closed, 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.”
In his own statement, Mr. Collier said, “I can’t imagine a more exciting next step than this new role at Fox, which combines the power and reach of a broadcast division, some of the best live assets on the planet from which to build entertainment audiences and fan engagement, and a proven leadership team with a ‘make new rules’ start-up mentality.”