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7 Possible Successors to Fox's Kevin Reilly

6/17/2014

By L.A. Ross
TheWrap

Kevin Reilly's surprising announcement Thursday that he would step down from his role as Chairman of Entertainment at Fox Broadcasting Company by the end of June leaves the network in a bit of a scramble to name a replacement.

Several internal candidates, like current COO and rising star Joe Earley, have been groomed as possible successors, but outsiders with extensive network leadership experience may be what Fox needs to improve its flat ratings since Reilly took over in 2012.

TheWrap has identified the five most likely candidates to take over programming at Fox, based on tenure, experience — and availability.

Also read:  Kevin Reilly on Why He's Leaving Fox and What's Next for Both Him and the Network

1. Joe Earley
The Chief Operating Officer is a company man, who worked his way through the ranks of marketing and publicity after joining Fox as a senior publicist all the way back in 1994. Perhaps most telling about Earley's possible successor status is the increased responsibility over creative departments he had been given in recent months. As part of a reorganization in March, the comedy and drama development and programming teams began reporting directly to Earley. The development side had previously reported to Reilly. Though individuals with knowledge of the situation within Fox say Earley's role expanded too recently for him to be considered for another major promotion.

Also read:  Kevin Reilly Exits Fox Right in the Middle of Transforming TV

2. John Landgraf
FX's no-nonsense president is already in the Fox family, so moving Landgraf over to the big network could be a logical choice, especially since he redefined FX by bringing critically acclaimed series like "Sons of Anarchy," "Louie" and "American Horror Story" to the network. And Reilly handpicked Landgraf to replace him at FX, so there is a precedent for the cable network serving as a proving ground for FBC execs — though Reilly told TheWrap he will have no say in choosing his successor in this go 'round.

3. Dana Walden
The beloved co-chairman of 20th Century Fox Television already has a solid relationship with many of the content creators whose work appears on the Fox network. As a studio head, Walden is intimately familiar with the production side of the development process, the demands of in-season production, and perhaps most importantly to the folks upstairs — the bottom line. Overseeing dozens of shows in production at 20th may be experience enough to make the transition to overseeing the multitude of series on the Fox schedule.

Also read:  Don't Blame Ratings for Kevin Reilly's Departure: Fox Finished in Second, Flat Year-to-Year

4. David Hill
Currently Senior EVP of 21st Century Fox, David Hill is a longtime friend of Rupert Murdoch and has overseen just about everything under the sun when it comes to things Fox puts on TV. The jack-of-all-trades was brought on to oversee "American Idol" and "X Factor" in 2013 when Fox was absent a reality head. Hill's career has mostly covered Fox Sports, but he was Chairman and CEO of Fox Broadcasting Company from 1997 to 1999, so he could theoretically wear that cap again.

5. Gail Berman
The co-founder of media company BermanBraun (renamed Whalerock Industries after Berman left earlier this year) already did a spin as President of Entertainment at Fox Broadcasting from 2000 to 2005. In case you don't remember, in those years Fox went from worst to first with mega-hits like "American Idol," "24," "Prison Break," and "House," which Berman shepherded into being. But Berman left Fox for a brief stint at Paramount, which may have left a bad taste in the network's mouth.

Also read:  Read Kevin Reilly's Resignation Letter: On Leaving 'The Worst Best Job in the World'

6. Lauren Zalaznick
The longtime NBCU executive was squeezed out late last year after her female-centric networks, including Bravo and Oxygen, were absorbed by peer Bonnie Hammer. Zalaznick recently joined the board of directors of music company Shazam, but the top job at FBC might not require her to leave that position.

7. David Nevins
Truth be told, David Nevins just signed a contract extension with CBS to extend his role as President of Showtime Networks through 2018, but contracts were made to be broken — for the right price. Nevins is still the No. 2 at the network under Matthew C. Blank, and the penchant he's shown for original content at Showtime could blossom at a major broadcast network.

The post 7 Possible Successors to Fox's Kevin Reilly appeared first on TheWrap.

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