Fox announced Thursday the resignation of Entertainment President Kevin Reilly, who has held the position for the last seven years. His departure is scheduled at the end of next month.
Since coming over from NBC, Reilly was credited for bringing aboard people who created hit shows for the network, including Glee and New Girl, and to a lesser extent, Bob’s Burgers and Masterchef – not to mention keeping American Idol on top of the ratings game, crediting it for keeping Fox number one among adults 18-49 for eight straight seasons.
But this is a “what have you done for me lately” business, and Reilly hasn’t done much for Fox the last two seasons. The 2012-13 season saw CBS steal the 18-49 crown away from Fox, thanks to the disastrous revamp of Idol, who added the combative Mariah Carey and Nicki Manaj to the judging panel and saw audiences flee for the exits. This year’s Idol was the least-watched season on record.
Reilly was also faced with an aging Sunday night lineup, which saw longtime stalwarts The Simpsons and Family Guy resorting to stunts to boost sagging viewership – the former with a Lego episode and the latter killing off Brian Griffin in a car accident – only to bring him back two weeks later.
A few weeks ago, Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” topped an original episode of “The Simpsons” head-to-head for the first time.
Other veteran series slumped too, including New Girl and Glee. And slipping ratings
forced Reilly to cancel The X Factor after three seasons.
And while the critics were lauding Fox for series such for freshmen series Enlisted and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, neither show resonated with viewers. And this summer’s new original slate has gotten off to a rough start, with reality series Riot and I Wanna Marry Harry stalled at the starting gate.
(And for the record, Allen Gregory – a rare miss from the otherwise funny Jonah Hill – was a bomb under Reilly’s watch as well.)
While at Fox, Reilly made some bold moves, most notably doing away with pilot season, a move which drew a mixed reception.
Reilly came to Fox in 2007, after a stint with NBC. There, he oversaw signature hits such as The Office, 30 Rock, The Biggest Loser, and Deal Or No Deal. Before coming to NBC, Reilly was at Fox sister network FX, where he helped launch hits The Shield, and Rescue Me.
With the successes (and failures, of course),there is no doubt Reilly left a mark on Fox. And what a mark he left.