Fired NBC Programmer Slides Over to Fox


Less than
two months after being fired as NBC’s entertainment president, Kevin Reilly has
been hired by Fox for the same job as part of a restructuring that includes the
promotion of Peter Liguori to entertainment chairman. Liguori, who has served
as Fox’s entertainment president since 2005, and Reilly are being reunited: The
two worked together from 2000 to 2003 at cable channel FX, which, like Fox, is
owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

The changes, effective immediately, were announced Monday by Peter Chernin,
News Corp.’s president and chief operating officer.

Reilly said he’s eager to join a network where he knows the corporate culture.
He had the “best working relationship” of his career with Liguori at
FX and enjoyed Chernin’s full support, he said.

not taking a leap of faith here. I’m going back to a situation I know well. …
It was a great fit before, it’s a better fit now,” Reilly told The
Associated Press.

At NBC, in comparison, “there was an uphill battle there, at a time when
there was tremendous negative momentum in general at the network,” Reilly

In his job as chief programmer, Reilly will report to Liguori, whose new duties
include developing ways to use Fox broadcast content across the Internet and
other emerging digital platforms.

“We share a similar creative gene, the Fox gene,” Liguori said of
Reilly. That includes “a nose for daring and distinctive

Reilly “has creative courage and I can’t wait to get back in business with
him,” he said.

Liguori said he’s looking forward to having time to explore new digital
opportunities for Fox and finding new ways to integrate advertising. Reilly
also will play a part in those areas, he said.

“There’s nothing exclusive between the two of us. We will collaborate on
all levels,” Liguori said, calling Reilly a “solid businessman”
as well as a creative programmer.

In a statement, Chernin said the company needs “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

Liguori approached him with the idea of re-teaming with Reilly, Chernin said.
He considered it 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.”

As NBC’s chief programmer from 2004 until May, Reilly was in charge of a
schedule that included freshman success “Heroes,” the Emmy-winning
comedy “The Office” and the hit game show “Deal or No

But the network fell to fourth place in the ratings and Reilly was replaced by
the team of Ben Silverman and MARC Graboff. Silverman’s production company was
responsible for “The Office” and the ABC hit “Ugly Betty,”
while Graboff is a veteran TV executive concentrating primarily on the business

Reilly was ousted from NBC only three months after being given a new three-year

NBC Universal had acted quickly because it was eager to bring on Silverman
after he told NBC Universal chief executive Jeff Zucker that he was thinking of
selling his Reveille Productions.

At FX, where Liguori was president and CEO and Reilly was entertainment
president, the pair helped build the channel with such critically acclaimed
hits as “The Shield” and “Nip/Tuck.”

Before joining FX, Reilly was president of Brad Grey Television, where he
supervised programs including the pilot for HBO’s “The Sopranos.”

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