Fox Broadcasting hired former exec Kevin Reilly as the network’s president of entertainment today.
Reilly, who was unceremoniously ousted from NBC in May, rejoins his former boss at FX, Peter Liguori, who was today promoted to Fox’s chairman of entertainment. The move frees Liguori to run the network while restoring a dream team who arguable put FX on the map.
"When Peter Liguori approached me with the idea of re-teaming with Kevin Reilly, I thought it was a bold move to redefine the structure of the network behind a pair of dynamic executives who have a proven track record of advancing the medium," commented News Corp. president and COO Peter Chernin in a statement.
The duo enjoyed a string of hits at FX including developing and launching The Shield and Nip/Tuck. Liguori subsequently moved to Fox while Reilly was poached by then-NBC head Jeff Zucker to pull the Peacock network out of its post-Friends, last place ratings slump.
Following NBC’s upfront presentation to advertisers in May, Zucker (as head of NBCU) tapped producer Ben Silverman to take over NBC’s programming reins and hired Marc Graboff to run the business side of the ratings-challenged network, and was forced to buy out Reilly’s just-renewed contract in the process.
Reilly’s statement on rejoining his former colleagues at Fox, which finished the 2006/07 season as the top-rated network in the adult 18-34 demo for the third year in a row, barely concealed his glee — and contained a not-so-veiled jab at Zucker’s lack of management finesse.
"I couldn’t be happier to rejoin Peter Chernin and the Fox family and to collaborate again with my good friend Peter Liguori, who shares my view of being competitive by being creatively adventurous," he commented. "The company has a top-down vision and the network has a collaborative environment and winning track record fostered by Peter Liguori, which I personally look forward to as a refreshing change of pace, and have no doubt will be the formula to keep FOX the leader on all fronts for years to come."
News Corp. also promoted 20th Century Fox Television execs Gary Newman and Dana Walden to chairmen of the studio today as part of its management shuffle at Fox. Both have shared the title of president at the studio since late 1999.