Fox Sports digital

In one of the most shocking sports media moves of 2017, President of Fox Sports National Networks Jamie Horowitz has been forced out. Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand tweeted the news:

To show how serious this is, Horowitz’s bio at Fox Sports has already been scrubbedOn his Facebook page, Ourand posted Fox Sports President Eric Shanks’ internal e-mail to employees:

Dear Colleagues:

I regret to inform you that Jamie Horowitz, President of National Networks for FOX Sports, will be leaving FOX Sports effective immediately. We realize this news may come as a surprise for many of you, but we are confident in this decision.

Everyone at FOX Sports, no matter what role we play, or what business, function or show we contribute to — should act with respect and adhere to professional conduct at all times. These values are non-negotiable.

Until Jamie’s replacement is named, I am stepping in to handle his former responsibilities including programming, marketing and scheduling for FS1 and FS2, as well as digital. All of these functions will now report directly to me.

We understand how difficult this will be for many of you, but in these times it is important that we remain unwavering and focused in continuing the great work of FOX Sports.

Best,
Eric

It comes less than week after the Awful Announcing article chronicling Horowitz’s takeover of Fox Sports Digital and turning it from articles to all-video. The site with various clips of its debate shows on the front page of FoxSports.com became no more than a YouTube channel thus causing its traffic to fall precipitously.

Horowitz certainly didn’t endear himself to Fox Sports digital employees when he announced the new strategy. And apparently this hasn’t sat well with Fox Sports management which surprisingly pulled the plug on Horowitz’s explosive tenure.

Ourand reports in Sports Business Daily that the move was unrelated to the changes at digital:

It is not known what caused Horowitz’s abrupt departure, though sources said it was not related to changes made at Fox Sports Digital, which was covered extensively by Awful Announcing last week.

Shanks will seek a replacement for Horowitz. He will handle Horowitz’s responsibilities until then, and FS1 programming, marketing and scheduling and digital will report directly to him.

UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the firing is due to sexual harassment allegations against Horowitz:

Horowitz’s dismissal came less than a week after 21st Century Fox began investigating allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace at Fox Sports. The company hired a law firm, which began interviewing women at Fox Sports about Horowitz’s behavior, according to a person familiar with the investigation who was not authorized to publicly discuss it.

Several women, including prominent on-air personalities, have already been interviewed about their treatment at Fox Sports, according to two people familiar with the investigation.

Horowitz came to Fox Sports in 2015 in hopes of turning around the fortunes of FS1, luring Colin Cowherd and Skip Bayless from ESPN and hiring Jason Whitlock. Gone were studio shows like Fox Sports Live and in were debate shows like Speak For Yourself and Undisputed. And while these shows were doing better in the ratings than the programs they replaced, they still lagged far behind ESPN’s numbers.

Horowitz’s time at Fox follows his rather explosive tenure at NBC’s Today show where Horowitz was fired just a month before he was to officially begin as the man in charge. Reports about his NBC experience later surfaced and perhaps it was a harbinger of things to come at Fox.

Reaction to Horowitz’s firing is already coming in:

From a laid-off Fox writer, “Fuck Fourth of July. This is Christmas.”

The Hollywood Reporter says that Horowitz is already thinking about suing Fox:

The reasons are unclear for the abrupt departure but he has hired powerhouse litigator Patty Glaser to represent him, suggesting he takes issue with the reason behind his exit.

Horowitz’s lawyer, Patty Glaser has issued the following statement:

“The way Jamie has been treated by Fox is appalling. At no point in his tenure was there any mention by his superiors or human resources of any misconduct or an inability to adhere to professional conduct. Jamie was hired by Fox to do a job, a job that until today he has performed an exemplary fashion. Any slanderous accusations to the contrary will be vigorously defended.”

Whatever the reason behind his firing, Fox felt it could no longer go forward with Jamie Horowitz and it leaves him with few options for his next gig.

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

  • Raymond Terry

    The second paragraph hints at what was going on. He’s got a lawyer now too.

    • Raymond Chuang

      And Patty Glaser is a VERY influential entertainment industry lawyer. It was Glaser who represented Conan O’Brien during the NBC fiasco in 2009-2010 over “The Jay Leno Show” and how that affected O’Brien’s stint on “The Tonight Show.”

      • Walt_Gekko

        And that whole mess with Conan came about because Leno would have been gone from NBC except ABC had been open in 2009 about cancelling “Nightline” and moving Jimmy Kimmel to 12:35 if they had been able to land Leno to go up against Conan.

        Conan being let go from NBC was basically a $120 million decision (the difference between what Conan was paid to leave and what NBC would have had to pay Leno to leave had he did after The Jay Leno Show was cancelled). Add to it that then-NBC Universal Chairman Jeff Zucker had a feud with Conan going back to their days at Harvard in the mid-1980’s (that I believe also eventually led to Law & Order being cancelled by NBC in 2010 very shortly after Conan announced his deal with Turner I believe in part to prevent Turner from getting any additional episodes after they aired on NBC, with ironically Zucker eventually joining Turner a couple of years later) and that’s why Conan was forced out.

  • kca13

    Free at last, free at last!

  • Granted, there is a tendency to make some announcements when it’s a long holiday weekend and less people are paying attention. But it seems that firing him today also conveys the left of dysfunction that he was shoved out the door on a day when his bosses would probably rather be at the beach, too.

    What a mess. But it’s hard to think that he deserved to stay after what he’s been doing.

  • ItsBlackjack115

    KARMA IS A B-I-T-C-H.

  • sportsfan365

    I’m not sure anyone who got fired from Fox Sports should be celebrating just yet, as he could soon land at the same place they do. He will probably be hired at Sports Illustrated to finish the job of turning them into an empty shell, as they seem pretty eager to get rid of writers.

    • adleonard11

      Not really – they just hired some Fox Sports writers like Jimmy Traina and Bruce Feldman

      • MrBull

        If that is true about the hires, then that is great news….

    • MrBull

      I doubt this clown will get hired by anyone, especially if he did indeed get fired because of sexual harassment…no one will touch him….

  • Yehuda Hamer

    It’s hard to figure out what programs to show in between sporting events.

    • Patrick Ryan Williford

      Not really:

      7 AM: Fox Sports Live (Katie Nolan/Tim Brando with Brando live from his assignments)
      9 AM: Crowd Goes Wild (Regis and one or two others MAX that does a sports version of Live! and not whatever CGW v1.0 was)
      10 AM: Undisputed
      Noon: Fox Sports Live (Julie Stewart Blinks/Jenny Taft)
      1 PM: Fox Football Daily (Menefee/Stone) [When Baseball and Basketball overlap this will be 30 minutes with Fox Soccer taking the other half hour]
      2 PM: Fox Soccer Daily (Stone/Joy/Abdo all 3 or rotating)
      3 PM: Fox (Baseball/Basketball) Daily (Chris Myers/Pete Rose // Gottlieb/NBA guy) [In Season, when both are going on one will air in 2 PM slot]
      4 PM: Race Hub (Drop the NASCAR prefix and have it cover NHRA, MotoGP, etc with NASCAR obv leading the way)
      5 PM: Fox Sports Live (Mike Hill/Charissa Thompson)
      6 PM: Pregame shows/live events
      11 PM/after live event: Fox Sports Live (Colin/Erin Andrews)

      • klawthoughts

        Tim Brando–a religious, conservative–with Katie Nolan? Yeah, don’t think that works.

        Also, isn’t JSB is with ESPN for national roles now?

        • Patrick Ryan Williford

          JSB – Maybe? Wasn’t sold on the Noon pairing but when you’re only using names currently with Fox Sports it’s tough.

          I want Brando in the morning since he has experience there from his radio show AND its before any game prep duties he would need to do when on assignment. So move Katie to Noon. Who would pair well with those two that is on Fox or is gettable? Maybe Amin from ESPN for Katie? A promise of a regular TV show may tip the balance for him to make the jump.

        • Andy Salcedo

          JSB just wrapped up her Fox Sports West duties and is now an ESPN exclusive

      • MrBull

        Perhaps you should take over at Fox Sports as your programming ideas sound real good…perhaps to good for the suits to comprehend…

        • Patrick Ryan Williford

          Yeah it’s a little OG FS1 mixed with a little new FS1 but scheduled much better and allows for the sports specific shows to downsize to half an hour for sports or new shows that come up through the FS2 feeder that I thought about after making that post. The feeder would be new voices with mostly personality Or focused driven shows. For example “The College Experience” that focuses solely on college. The atmospheres of the venues, the sports not named Football/Basketball, the Athletic Departments, the fanbase she, the student sections, etc. Mix that in with an investigative show, and some shows for the fresh voices and both networks have a daytime lineup and there is room to experiment on FS2 if a show fails.

          • Jessy Scholl

            And maybe have a radio show with Joe Buck if you are going to do the simulcast route.

  • John Danknich

    No one should be surprised by this. Horowitz is a pox on the TV sports business. Good riddance.

  • Mike

    Addition by subtraction.

  • TBon2

    Dude made some really bad decisions. It sounds like he pissed off some people.

  • Kyle J

    Unfortunately, it appears his firing has nothing to do with Fox’s website and traffic. That should have been enough to do him in. It took sexual harassment allegations to get him canned.

  • Raymond Chuang

    It could have some VERY interesting effects at more than just FOX Sports. Could it result in ESPN Radio with this lineup within a year on weekdays:

    1. New morning show with Trey Wingo and Mike Golic 6 to 9 am ET (broadcast from Bristol, CT)
    2. Dan LeBatard Show with “Stugotz” 9 am to 12 pm ET (broadcast from Clevelander Hotel in Miami, FL)
    3. The Herd with Colin Cowherd 12 pm ET to 3 pm ET (broadcast from revamped ESPN LA Studios)
    4. The Ryen Russillo Show 3 pm to 6 pm ET (broadcast from Bristol, CT)

    I think ESPN would love to bring Cowherd back–despite the recent on-air talent layoffs, ESPN would certainly pay the money to get Cowherd back. And Cowherd could bring Kristine Leahy along as a combination of producer and co-host.

    • Patrick Ryan Williford

      No way they cancel Bomani’s show. If any radio show is on the block it’ll be Russillo or LeBatard.

      • Raymond Chuang

        I believe Bomani is involved with a new project at ESPN, so that may end his radio show. But it was known that ESPN was ready to shell out big bucks to keep Cowherd back in 2015, and they may wave a big payday for Cowherd to return to ESPN Radio. But instead of having to broadcast from Bristolk CT, he will now broadcast from ESPN’s Los Angeles studios–especially if they get revamped to have a more “open” feel.

        • Patrick Ryan Williford

          Bomani’s show is pretty successful and the earlier air time. Plus I rather ESPN Radio cultivate newer voices for TV projects than just bringing in known faces. So if Bomani decides to end the show I’ll like to see someone like Amin get a shot.

          • Raymond Chuang

            I do think ESPN Radio didn’t do the best job of trying to keep Colin Cowherd. He wanted to move to the US West Coast, and ESPN had the studio facilities in Los Angeles to accommodate him on both the radio and TV side.

            If Horowitz’s dismissal results in shutting down FOX Sports Radio, ESPN will be in the immediate running to bring him back to the ESPN fold, especially if they allow Cowherd to continue broadcasting from the Los Angeles area using the ESPN Los Angeles facilities.

          • MrBull

            Don’t see Fox Sports Radio being shut down…Fox needs it to compete vs. espn….plus I don’t see Cowherd going back to espn as he has more freedom to say absurd things at Fox then at espn…

          • Walt_Gekko

            If Bonami left, I suspect they would either move LeBatard back to his old 4:00-7:00 PM ET slot (so they could make Hahn, Humpty & Canty that air from 10-1 on 98.7 in NYC a national show as noted in another comment) OR make the Michael Kay show (that currently airs from 3:00-7:00 PM ET on 98.7 in NYC) a national show from 4:00-7:00 ET. Kay, Don LaGreca and Peter Rosenberg have done a lot with that show and Rosenberg’s nightly “ENN” (Evening Nightly News) that airs at 6:00 PM ET as part of that has its own podcast now as well and has become very popular (Rosenberg has filled in a lot on the national feed in recent years. .

        • Walt_Gekko

          If anything, I could see Ryen Rusillo’s show on the block, especially since they have Stephen A. Smith (on from 1:00-3:00 PM ET on 98.7 ESPN in NYC and 710 ESPN in LA and nationally on Sirius XM) to take over. Rusillo could also be moved to 3:00-5:00 PM ET with Bonami Jones, Jalen & Jacoby, Izzy & Spain and Freddie & Fitz all pushed back an hour to accommodate SAS.

          Also, I would be looking at perhaps moving LeBatard back to his old 4:00-7:00 PM ET slot in order to bring in the trio of Alan Hahn, Rick (“Humpty”) DiPietro and Chris Canty that currently air from 10:00 AM-1:00 PM on 98.7 in NYC for a national show at the same time.

  • Keith P.

    If Holly “Showgirl” Sonders’ name comes up in any of these allegations, it will get real interesting real fast.

    • sportsfan365

      Holly was presented as a piece of meat at the US Open.

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  • souvien

    I’m sure that some how Jabba the Whitlock will find a a way to blame the four letter for this…

    Ku Klux Klay will bemoan all this libtard snowflake thinking that a work place should be free of harassment…a little Tennessee teabagging is just harmless horseplay (right Peyton)

    Cowturd will a way to blame cold weather…and John Wall

  • MrBull

    Let’s get real about this….
    If there is any ‘fire to the smoke’ on the sexual harassment allegations then this clown is rightly gone…

    Furthermore, this gives Fox ‘just clause’ to fire him per his contract….plus, if there is any fallout(apparently so) from the gut job moves this clown has done to sports reporting at Fox, then Fox has away to put an end to the disaster Horowitz has caused and Fox will not have to pay him any $$$$ remaining on his contract…

    As to his lawyer…it’s a lawyer who is trying to get the remaining $$$ on the contract or at least some portion….

    Now the bigger question: Does Fox dump the changes made and bring back the written content to their website and try to bring some sportsnews programs to FS1/FS2….

    By the way, I posted last week that this clown wouldn’t last 2 more yrs. after his gut job of the website….well, I was wrong…he didn’t even last 2 weeks….

    • inku palios

      The problem with Fox is that they only do well if it’s only a sporting event. Look at Jay & Dan, and the one show with Regis Philbin & Katie Nolan. If Fox Sports wants to keep itself relevant, hire someone from ESPN’s digital department.

      • MrBull

        In a sense Fox did hire a person from espn – it was Horowitz….and the clown took over the digital side at Fox…

  • C-Sharp

    Takes a real horndog to get busted in such a short period of time.

  • marcus813

    I really dislike what he did to FOXSports.com. If I wanna see only videos, I can go on YouTube. I don’t celebrate people losing their jobs, but I don’t have any sympathy for him.

  • Rey Henry

    if the allegations are true. he is a massive moron. aifter ailes and oreilly, every lecherous asshole at fox should have been on their Ps and Qs.
    i am just waiting for the press release about steve doocy’s leave of absence.

    • Jessy Scholl

      Sexual assault allegations because Steve Doocy was horny at Ivanka Trump.

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