Just weeks after leaving Fox, a veteran TV executive has scored a top job with Warner Bros. Television. According to The Hollywood Reporter, reality pioneer Mike Darnell will get the job of president of unscripted and alternative programming and syndicated fare at the studio.
"The move puts Darnell in charge of the reality genre for the studio’s Telepictures division as well as Warner Horizon, which produces ‘American Idol’ rival ‘The Voice,’" the piece notes. Darnell will start in his new position Aug. 12, reporting to Peter Roth, president of Warner Bros. TV.
Darnell told THR: "It’s what I wanted to do, which is to stretch my fingers out. There are so many more platforms out there now and Warner Bros. has a great presence in all of them."
The report adds: "The move, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara’s first major executive hire since he was elevated to run the studio in January, comes after Darnell spent 18 years at Fox, where he played an integral role in building the network as a destination for edgy, unscripted TV. In his early days there, that meant producing such headline-grabbing specials as ‘When Animals Attack!’ and ‘World’s Scariest Police Chases.’ Next came the wave of noisy reality series, such as ‘Temptation Island’ and ‘My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance.’ And more recently, his unscripted territory has been defined by the bigger, G-rated tent-pole franchises such as ‘American Idol’ and ‘The X Factor.’"
Darnell had a reputation as a hands-on executive at Fox, the report notes. "In the case of ‘Idol,’ which reigned for years as TV’s most-watched program but has suffered ratings declines in recent seasons, Darnell was present at every taping — often with his mother in tow," THR reports.
The report adds: "The new appointment reunites Darnell with Roth, who was president of Fox Entertainment from 1996-1999. Darnell also has close ties to ‘Voice’s’ Mark Burnett as well as Mike Fleiss, creator of ‘The Bachelor’ franchise who made several shows for Darnell at Fox. Quips Darnell: ‘I just wanted to work for another company with a Peter and a Kevin.’"