Fox’s programming chief is stepping down: Kevin Reilly, the network’s entertainment chairman and top prime-time decision maker for the past seven years, will leave his post by the end of June.
“21st Century Fox is a great company that has provided me with choice seats at the head table of pop culture over two very rewarding stints both at FBC and FX, and I am grateful to have benefited from the leadership of Peter Rice, Chase Carey and Rupert Murdoch,” Reilly said in a statement. “Peter and I have been discussing this transition for a while, and now with a robust new slate of programming for next season and strength in the FBC ranks, it felt like the timing was as right as it could be. I couldn’t be more thankful to my team – a group of creative, tireless and fun people whose fellowship I will miss.”
Reilly was responsible for Fox’s recent key hits, including New Girl, Glee and Sleepy Hollow. Yet like all the broadcast networks, Fox has had plenty of misfires too – and some were pricy ventures, such as Terra Nova. And while New Girl was an influential break-out hit during its first season, Fox’s Tuesday comedy block has struggled to draw viewers last couple years (though newcomer Brooklyn Nine-Nine has drawn acclaim, if not big ratings). When Reilly joined in 2007, Fox was the top-rated network, but thanks to the decline of mega-hit American Idol and other prime-time troubles, Fox has since been overtaken by Reilly’s former employer, NBC. Reilly also previously held a top programming position at FX.
In addition to his programming track record, Reilly is also known for pushing the industry to move to a more year-around programming schedule, and has advocated doing cable-style short-order seasons for dramas like Sleepy Hollow.
Peter Rice, Chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group, said, “Kevin’s undeniable creative gift and passion for talent have left an indelible mark on our company, and we’re extremely grateful to him for his leadership, beginning with The Shield and Nip/Tuck at FX and continuing through Glee, New Girl, The Following, Sleepy Hollow and Brooklyn Nine-Nine at Fox. Kevin and I have been discussing his desire for a new challenge for some time, so while everyone at the network will miss his enthusiasm for adventurous television, we all respect his decision and agreed that after the upfront presentation was the right time. I’m personally extremely grateful to Kevin for his partnership during the past five years and look forward to working with him again in the future.”