Jamie Horowitz, the Fox Sports executive who transformed the network with an emphasis on debate shows and talking heads, is out at the media company after two years amid a sexual harassment investigation, according to a report.
Horowitz, 41, the President of National Networks, was let go by Fox effective immediately Monday.
His ousting came days after Fox enlisted a lawfirm to interview female employees — including several on-air personalities — to discuss Horowitz’s conduct, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Employees were notified that Horowitz had been fired in an ominous memo emailed to staffers by Fox Sports COO Eric Shanks.
“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,” Shanks wrpte in the memo, which was obtained Sports Business Daily and Sports Illustrated.
“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.”
Horowitz was first confronted by network higher-ups on Friday, prompting him to hire Los Angeles-based attorney Patricia Glaser over the weekend. He was officially fired at 8 a.m. Monday, Glaser confirmed.
“The way Jamie has been treated by Fox is appalling,” Glaser said in a statement to the Daily News. “At no point in his tenure was there any mention by his superiors or human resources of any misconduct or an ability to adhere to professional conduct. Jamie was hired to do a job — a job that until today he has performed in exemplary fashion. Any slanderous accusations will be vigorously defended.”
Shanks, who also serves as the network’s executive producer, said he’ll take over Horowitz’s duties overseeing programming, scheduling and marketing for channels Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2, as well as the network’s digital mediums, on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is named.
The probe comes a year after late Fox News founder Roger Ailes resigned due to sexual harassment allegations from female employees, and two months after political commentator Bill O’Reilly was fired by the network following similar accusations.
Horowitz previously worked for ESPN and — after a short-lived tenure with NBC’s “Today” show — was brought aboard Fox Sports in April 2015 in an effort to close the sizeable gap with ESPN, which is widely billed as The Worldwide Leader in Sports.
Horowitz hired big-name talent out from under ESPN, including Colin Cowherd, Skip Bayless and Jason Whitlock. But while FS1 did experience modest growth in the past year, it still lagged far behind ESPN in overall ratings, despite ESPN losing numerous subscribers and viewership.
The firing comes a week after Horowitz decided to cut the FoxSports.com writing team in an effort to repurpose the website with more video.
Horowitz’s executive page on the Fox Sports website has already been taken down.