Fox Names Reality Channel Chief

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After starting his career more than two decades ago as a gologist, 25-year reality programming veteran David Lyle will now mine for TV hits as the head of Fox’s new Fox Reality Channel.

“It’s digging for gold in a different way,” says the Sydney native, who comes to the new reality channel from FremantleMedia North America, where since 2001 he served as president of entertainment. There he spearheaded the launch of American Idol and produced series for MTV, Lifetime, GSN, Pax and the Food Network.

Now he will serve as COO and General Manager for Fox Reality Channel, set to premiere by May 2005 to more than 17 million homes.

Although much of this season’s new reality shows,including Fox’s The Rebel Billionaire and My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss, have faltered in the ratings, Lyle says he still thinks Americans have a strong appetite for the genre.

“Although there haven’t been stand-out hits this season and some shows have failed, if you look across the whole TV spectrum there are more eyeballs spending more time watching more reality than ever before,” he told B&C. “There is a core, almost obsessive, audience. But there’s also a very broad audience that like their reality and I hope we become one of the top destinations for the audience that can’t get enough.”

Prior to his work at FremantleMedia, Lyle worked in London as worldwide head of acquisition and development at Pearson Television, where he acquired top U.S. and international unscripted programs. Before that, he was at the Sydney-based Nine Network where he created local versions of shows including Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Changing Rooms, on which TLC’s Trading Spaces is based.

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