In a bid to further boost its reality biz, UTA has lured Fox exec Kary McHoul to serve as co-head of its alternative TV department.
McHoul has spent the last three years as senior VP of alternative at Fox, serving as reality guru Mike Darnell’s top lieutenant. She’s overseen development and production of Fox hits such as “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Temptation Island.”
At UTA, McHoul will run alternative TV with Brett Hansen, who’s headed the department solo since last year. Tenpercentery said Hansen and UTA partners Jay Sures and Sue Naegle were key in wooing McHoul.
“Kary is a huge get for our team,” Hansen said. “She is an exceptional strategist with big creative ideas … and this is a rare opportunity to work together. It’s been the agency’s priority for a long time to bring her here, and I’m really excited about all that she will contribute to the vision and growth of our alternative and format business.”
Darnell said he “didn’t see the move coming,” but that it made sense.
“I would have never thought about it in my head, but it’s really appropriate,” he said. “She knows the reality world really well, she’s really good with formats, and she’s great at identifying edgy new shows and talent. We’re going to miss her a lot, but the skills she has are really appropriate for agent work.”
McHoul said “a perfect storm of a lot of different things” led her to accept UTA’s overtures.
“UTA had been aggressively pursuing me, and I’d been doing network stuff for a long time,” she said. “It was time for a change and to learn a different side of the business.”
UTA’s client list includes Avalon Television, World of Wonder, 495 Prods. and “Project Runway” star Tim Gunn. Percentery has packaged skeins such as “Supernanny,” “Wife Swap,” “The Surreal Life” and “The Contender.”
McHoul’s last day at Fox will be June 13. Before joining the net in 2004, she spent three seasons at E!, developing skeins such as “The Anna Nicole Show” and “It’s Good to Be …”.
Exec has now done three tours of duty at Fox, having previously worked for three years as a VP under Darnell from 1999 until 2002 and, before that, as an assistant at the net.