After Fox promoted its longtime studio presidents, Dana Walden and Gary Newman, to chairmen, talk has intensified that former NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly will move back to Fox to head programming, reporting to his old boss at FX, Peter Liguori.
Although the situation is said to be fluid, the current scenario has Liguori moving up from president to chairman of Fox Entertainment—putting all three network and studio executives at the same corporate level—and clearing the way for Reilly to assume Liguori’s president’s role overseeing Fox programming. An announcement could come as early as today or Tuesday, according to sources.
“Under Gary and Dana’s leadership for the past decade, 20th Century Fox Television has achieved unparalleled success in the television marketplace and has been at the forefront of successfully leveraging new technologies to extend its hit franchises,” Chernin said. “Their promotion to chairmen is richly deserved.” Since being named co-presidents of TCFTV in 1999, the studio has expanded its emphasis on animated comedies, with five (including The Simpsons) currently in production, in addition to its slate of dramas and live-action comedies.
They have also focused heavily on licensing and merchandising, publishing, videogames, promotions, e-commerce, retail, themed entertainment and consumer products for their own studio’s shows. Additionally, they share oversight of licensing and merchandising for properties belonging to Fox Film, Fox Sports and third parties, including Microsoft Game Studios’ Halo. In fall of 2002, they pioneered the now-common industry practice of releasing television series on DVD immediately following each broadcast season, which was credited for helping to propel the Fox drama 24 into a hit in its second season.
Newman and Walden also developed new production models, creating fox21 in 2004, a production house dedicated to lower-cost fare, and launching the first studio mobile entertainment unit, starting with 24: Conspiracy.
Prior to being named co-presidents, Walden served as the studio’s executive VP of drama and Newman as executive VP, overseeing business.--Additional reporting by Ben Grossman