Wade Beckett Replaces Billy Kimball as Fusion’s Chief Programming Officer

Beckett most recently served as ESPN’s “SportsNation” showrunner

Billy Kimball is stepping down as Fusion’s chief programming officer, and will be replaced by Wade Beckett, CEO Isaac Lee said in an internal email on Thursday.

Lee praised and thanked his outgoing executive before touting the skills of his Miami-based replacement, who was most recently ESPN’s “SportsNation” showrunner.

“Wade is an experienced producer with a demonstrated track record of developing and leading innovative programming that resonates with new audiences,” Lee gushed. “I have been impressed by Wade’s passion, focus, and strong production experience and am confident that he will take Fusion to the next level as we develop new, innovative content.”

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Beckett previously spent more than six years at NBCUniversal’s G4 network.

Kimball helped launch Fusion two years ago as a consultant, and later as head of TV programming.

Here is Lee’s full email:

Hola Fusion,

I am writing to share some news about our programming team.

Billy Kimball is stepping down from his post as Chief Programming Officer at Fusion. Two years ago, I asked Billy to help Fusion develop the slate of programs that would take us through our launch phase, first as a consultant and later as the head of all of our TV programming. Under Billy’s leadership we had a successful launch and have premiered a number of shows — from “AMERICA with Jorge Ramos” and “Alicia Menendez Tonight” to “Fusion Live” and “No, You Shut Up!” — that not only inform and empower our audience, but also entertain them in new and innovative ways. Throughout his tenure, Billy has worked tirelessly to constantly improve our existing shows, nurture our talent, and develop exciting new projects, many of which are now reaching the pilot phase.  As you all know, Billy is a brilliant producer and we hope to continue working with him on a number of projects in the future.

I am thrilled to announce that Wade Beckett will be joining Fusion as our new Chief Programming Officer based here in Miami.

Wade is an experienced producer with a demonstrated track record of developing and leading innovative programming that resonates with new audiences. I have been impressed by Wade’s passion, focus, and strong production experience and am confident that he will take Fusion to the next level as we develop new, innovative content.

Wade spent over six years as a key executive at NBCUniversal’s G4 network and helped lead the channel from a young start-up network to a Top 10 Cable network for its target demographic, surpassing Discovery, ESPN2, History, Spike, and Nat Geo. While there he effectively created and simultaneously managed a number of studio and field-based programs that captured the attention of a hard-to-reach, young audience including “X-Play” — one of the network’s tentpole shows that became a go-to destination for young people interested in video games and technology. He also oversaw the network’s yearly live broadcasts of E3 and San Diego’s Comic Con convention as well as a series of biography-based specials (“Icons”) on subjects ranging from J.J. Abrams to The Onion and Lollapalooza.

Most recently Wade served as the showrunner for ESPN’s SportsNation, which has the youngest audience of all ESPN’s studio-based shows. In 2012 he successfully transitioned the daily show from ESPN’s Bristol headquarters to Los Angeles. Throughout his tenure there he championed the importance of fan engagement and injected the program with an entertaining dose of pop culture. As a result, SportsNation is among the leaders at ESPN in the social sphere with over 2 million highly engaged followers on Twitter, second only to the iconic SportsCenter brand.

I look forward to seeing Wade’s enthusiasm, ideas, and leadership spread throughout Fusion as we experiment and innovate with new ways to connect our young, diverse audience to the stories that matter most to them.

Wade will be in Miami to meet with everyone September 24. He will be working from Los Angeles over the next few weeks while he and his fiancee Maddy prepare for their move to Miami. Wade will join us at Newsport full-time in early October.

In the interim you should direct any questions about production to George Lansbury and program scheduling to Michelle Romero.

Please join me in welcoming Wade and thanking Billy.

Abrazos,

Isaac