FOX Reality Chief Mike Darnell Announces His Departure from the Network

Categories: 1-Featured,Network TV Press Releases

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May 24th, 2013

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via press release:




The results are in…Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Company, has announced that he will be departing the network at the end of June.


“I’m extremely grateful that FOX has offered me a new long term contract (and anyone who knows me won’t believe I’m saying this), but I’ve decided it’s time for a change,” said Darnell. “With my current deal ending in June, and having been here for 18 years (kind of a record in Hollywood), I had to make a decision: either stay (and basically admit to myself I was going to retire at FOX...not a terrible choice) or leave and try something new.  I’ve been in ‘Reality’ since before it was even called that, and it has truly been an amazing ride.  However, the world has changed drastically over the last few years and now with hundreds of channels and limitless ways to watch television, I’ve decided this was the perfect time to take advantage of the rapidly changing marketplace.  To say I am going to miss everyone here and that the people at FOX are like a family to me would be the understatement of the decade.  I have so many people to thank (and I will call all of you!), but first and foremost, I want to thank Kevin Reilly, Peter Rice, Chase Carey and Rupert Murdoch for all their amazing support over these many years.”


Peter Rice, Chairman of Fox Networks Group, said, “Mike has been a trailblazer for the entire industry and has made innumerable contributions to the growth and success of the network over the past two decades.  His passion for – and dedication to – television knows no bounds.  He is like a member of the family, and FOX won’t be the same without him.  While we wish he would’ve stayed forever, we regretfully accept his decision.”


Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation, commented, “Mike took risks at a critical time and was a pioneering force in shaping the reality programming genre that exists today.  He’s a smart and fearless executive who will be missed.”

Darnell joined FOX in 1994 as Director of Specials after working for eight years at the network’s Los Angeles affiliate KTTV and the Fox Television Station Group.  He oversaw the creation of genre-defining hits, and tens of thousands of hours of television, including AMERICAN IDOL (television’s No. 1 series for 9 consecutive seasons), FAMILY GUY, THE X FACTOR, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, MASTERCHEF, HELL’S KITCHEN, KITCHEN NIGHTMARES, “Futurama,” “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?,” “Nanny 911,” “Don’t Forget the Lyrics!” and “Guinness World Records Primetime”; along with popular sensations such as, “Joe Millionaire,” “The Simple Life,” “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé,” “The Moment of Truth,” “Trading Spouses” and “Temptation Island”; countless specials like “The Billboard Music Awards,” “The Teen Choice Awards,” “The Primetime Emmy Awards” and “The American Country Awards”; and noise-making spectacles such as “The Swan,” “Alien Autopsy:  Fact or Fiction?,” “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?,” “Man vs. Beast,” “Busted on the Job,” “World’s Scariest Police Chases,” “When Animals Attack!” and “Breaking the Magician’s Code:  Magic’s Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed.”



    FOX’s reality department has been lacking in the past years, there hasn’t really been any hits outside their older reality shows.

  • DonJ1973

    Besides all the stuff FOX gets from Gordon Ramsay, FOX has not developed a successful reality show. Definitely time for change in that dept.

  • andy

    this is big news… wow

  • The End


    Fox should pick up The Amazing Race Canada, it’l be much cheaper and an already established franchise too.

    It premieres in Canada on July 15th.

  • Anna Bones Clarkwood

    I wonder if Nigel & Co will still be fired/let go?

    I had no idea Mike Darnell was heading out, not even sure if he is the problem, maybe just a scapegoat.

  • PurpleDrazi

    Perhaps he finally realized building an entire network around Gordon Ramsey wasn’t such a good idea after all.

  • David Howell

    An astounding record of longevity in this business. Wonder if there’ll be a drastic new direction with him gone? Maybe involving – whisper it softly – the singing shows ending?

  • Clarence

    I knew it! Mike Darnell was the guy who hired Nicki Minaj for American Idol. His bad decision tanked Fox most popular show and now he’s being shown the door. That decision cost them MILLIONS of dollars! At least Fox let him have his dignity before they kicked him out. They did the same with Randy Jackson. We know the “dawg” didn’t really quit.


    @Purple. Why is that? Gordon gets higher ratings then most FOX dramas, his show last night was highest rated show.

  • Lane

    Ratings were going down before Minaj came in.


  • Oliver


    He made them hundreds of millions by bringing them Idol and keeping it afloat for so many seasons.

    I imagine he wanted to quit on a relative high rather than spend years redeveloping Fox’s reality slate.

  • jackson

    Ding dong the witch is dead! The luckiest mand in showbiz FINALLY loses his job. This meddling midget got undeserved credit and job security from “Idol” and then he and Nigel Lythgoe ruined a great format. Now FOX has a chance to improve. Amen!

  • Hihi1212

    Clearly no one read that FOX OFFERED HIM ANOTHER long term contract

  • roly

    Give us a break,he was given the option to
    go or be fired and blacklisted.

  • roly

    No surprise here

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