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Fox Promotes Liguori, Names Reilly President

7/09/2007 10:15:00 AM Eastern

As expected,  Fox has promoted Peter Liguori to entertainment chairman and named former NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly as president.

Under the new structure, Reilly will report to Liguori, who in his new role as chairman of Fox will expand his duties to developing “new models for broadcast content to best leverage the brands across all emerging platforms,” Fox said in an announcement Monday.

While Reilly inherits the creative mantle--essentially assuming a large chunk of the job that belonged to longtime  executive VP of programming, Craig Erwich, who has resigned--Liguori will retain control over business, marketing, PR and all other network functions.

Fox said the restructuring is “designed to add depth to the senior ranks of the network as it navigates the rapidly changing television landscape.”

Peter Chernin, President and Chief Operating Officer of News Corp, said, “The television industry has changed more in the last five years than in the past 20. We need to be structured in a way that puts us in the best position take advantage of the myriad new opportunities digital technology has afforded the broadcast television business.  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.”

“I’m thrilled to be working with my good friend Kevin again,” Liguori said. “We have complementary strengths, but more importantly, we have fun working together and we enjoy sharing that spirit with the rest of the team. Fox is television’s premier brand and I am excited to take on a role that requires more long-term strategic vision at a time when Fox has the opportunity to become an even bigger force in this quickly evolving media landscape.”

At NBC, Reilly’s credits included "Heroes," last season’s top-rated freshman series in both total viewers and adults 18-49; critically acclaimed but modestly rated comedies like "The Office" and "My Name is Earl"; and the game show success "Deal or No Deal."

“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,” Reilly said.

After spending the past three years trying to rebuild NBC,  Reilly called it “a refreshing change” to work at a company that “has a top-down vision,” “collaborative environment” and “winning track record.”

The move reunites Liguori and Reilly, who was forced out of NBC last month when Ben Silverman was brought in over him.

The pair had what Fox terms a “highly successful pairing” at FX from 2000-03 when Liguori was president-CEO and Reilly served as president of entertainment.  

Together, they developed "The Shield" and "Nip/Tuck," and took FX from a nascent basic cable network to one that features a large amount of originals. 

 Liguori has been entertainment president for Fox since March 2005 and has presided over two seasons during which the network finished first among adults 18-49, largely driven by the spring success of one show, "American Idol."

Like Liguori, Reilly will be under pressure to beef up the performance of Fox’s fall lineup, which has long been a sore spot for Chernin. The network routinely languishes in last place until the January debut of "Idol," when its fortunes turn around. 

Fox’s other big winter and spring franchise, "24," experienced year-to-year erosion this past season.

During Liguori’s watch, the entertainment division reached record profitability and achieved upfront advertising records for the network.

Before his years at FX and Fox, Liguori headed consumer marketing at HBO and worked in advertising at Ogilvy & Mather and Saatchi & Saatchi.

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