From the moment NBC Entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly made his hasty exit from the Peacock in late May, there was speculation that he would wind up on the Fox lot, and for good reason. Industry insiders confirmed Thursday that Reilly is in talks to join Fox in a role that is expected to have him sign on as head of programming, while the current occupant of that job, Peter Liguori, takes on a broader role overseeing the network.
Sources cautioned that the talks are in the early stages and that it’s far from certain that a deal with Reilly will come to fruition. But if so, it would mark a reunion of the duo that were highly successful in turning FX into the original programming dynamo that it is today. Reilly served as FX entertainment prexy under Liguori from 2000-2003, when the cabler was transformed from a repository for “In Living Color” reruns and live talkshows to a basic-cable equivalent of HBO with cutting-edge fare such as “The Shield,” “Nip/Tuck” and the short-lived but critically embraced John Corbett comedy “Lucky.”
Just how the exec structure might work is unclear. Reilly might report to Liguori, or Liguori and Reilly could share a title (co-heads are all the rage around H’wood these days, especially at News Corp., which has two-headed toppers at both its film and TV studios). No matter what the setup, having Reilly focus on programming and Liguori on broader management of the web would play to both of their strengths. It’s understood that News Corp. prexy Peter Chernin has long been impressed with the work Reilly did during his FX tenure and likely was quick to reach out to Reilly following his unceremonious axing from NBC (Daily Variety, May 29).
Fox and News Corp. reps declined comment on the matter. Reilly didn’t respond to an email request for comment.