Craig Erwich was a loyal soldier to Fox Broadcasting Co. for a dozen years, through the programming regimes of John Matoian, Peter Roth, Doug Herzog, Gail Berman and finally, Peter Liguori. On Monday, amid the news of the arrival of Kevin Reilly as entertainment president and Liguori’s promotion to Fox Entertainment chairman, Erwich (pictured left) decided it was time to move on (though he may yet stay within the News Corp. family, as Variety reports).
In the last four years of his tenure at the network, friends and colleagues say Erwich handled the always-tricky job of serving as No. 2 to the head of programming with great skill and good humor.
Ask anyone who’s served in the executive vp programming role (or its equivalent) at a major network. You’re in charge of development, but….credit has a way of flowing upward in success, while blame and tsk-tsking trickles down when things go wrong. But those who know him well say Erwich played an important role in bringing to fruition most of Fox’s scripted successes during the past few years, particularly “24,” “House” and “Prison Break.”
“He’s an incredibly good executive. He’s smart, responsive and always very clear about his point of view,” says Imagine TV prexy David Nevins, who worked closely with Erwich at Fox when Nevins was in the exec vp role and Erwich was head of drama development. It was Nevins and Erwich who first took the pitch from Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran on their unconventional idea for a drama thriller series that would unfold in real time, one hour at a time, during the course of a season. He rode the “24” thrill ride all the way to its Emmy win for drama series last year.
Before joining Fox in 1995 as director of current programming, Erwich worked at Stephen J. Cannell Prods. and as an assistant at CAA.