Fox Broadcasting announced today that the chairman of Fox Entertainment, Kevin Reilly, will step down from his post, the Los Angeles Times reports. Reilly, who joined Fox in 2007 as entertainment president and moved up to chairman of entertainment in August 2012, will reportedly exit the job by the end of June.
A replacement has not been named.
"While Fox looks for a successor, Reilly’s senior executives will report to Fox Networks Group CEO Peter Rice," B&C reports.
Reilly is quoted by B&C saying: “21st Century Fox is a great company that has provided me with choice seats at the head table of pop culture over two very rewarding stints both at FBC and FX, and I am grateful to have benefited from the leadership of Peter Rice, Chase Carey and Rupert Murdoch. Peter and I have been discussing this transition for a while, and now with a robust new slate of programming for next season and strength in the FBC ranks, it felt like the timing was as right as it could be. I couldn't be more thankful to my team — a group of creative, tireless and fun people whose fellowship I will miss.”
As part of a thoughtful memo Reilly wrote announcing his departure to his staff, he said: "As invigorating as all that is to be a part of, we all know the daily feeding of the network beast and early morning ritual of waking to an overnight report card does breed a certain type of mania. My first boss, Brandon Tartikoff, described presiding over a broadcast network as 'the worst best job in the world.' I remember coming up in the business and seeing how the grind turned some executives into grizzled cynics. And I vowed to never become that guy.
"I have always believed it’s incumbent upon network brass to bring a wide-eyed optimism to the chairs they rent. Talent deserves that. And frankly, the jobs are just no fun otherwise. Staying fresh and looking forward is part of why I feel the timing is right for me to turn the page now."
To read the memo in full, please click here.
The shakeup comes after a difficult season for the Fox TV network, which saw ratings fall off for its regular programming, the Times notes.
"The network's longtime ratings engine, 'American Idol,' fell apart this year, losing nearly half of its audience compared to its 2013 run," the Times reports. "The aging show, which once drew more than 25 million viewers an episode, mustered about 8 million viewers as it reached its finale earlier this month."
Fox is expected to look at outside candidates to replace Reilly, along with executives currently with the company, the Times adds.
"Reilly's decision to leave had been in the works for several weeks, and negotiations accelerated this week, according to a person familiar with the matter," the Times story notes.
The Times adds: "Fox ended the TV season in fourth place in overall viewers with an average of 7.5 million viewers a night, helped in part, by large audiences for NFL football games, including the Super Bowl.