Reilly: Nurturing Fox’s next-gen toon stars

Animation Elite 2012: Kevin Reilly

Even before his promotion to entertainment chairman of Fox broadcasting, Kevin Reilly had banked much of his programming strategy on animation. It was Reilly who ultimately decided to retire “King of the Hill” and add “Bob’s Burgers” and “The Cleveland Show” to Fox’s Sunday-night block. And Reilly was also the architect of Animation Domination HD, designed to bring fresh animation talent to w net.

“You can’t think about Fox without thinking ‘Simpsons’ and ‘Family Guy,’ ” says Reilly. “We’ve been looking for the next generation, but top talent is rare.”

Those projects that have the potential to grow into full-fledged primetime series can now test the waters on a smaller scale online.

“At one time, Matt Groening was just a cartoonist at an avant-garde paper and Seth (MacFarlane) was an art student fresh out of school,” Reilly says. “We need to nurture those talents before saddling them with the overwhelming task of producing primetime animation.”

Reilly brought on Adult Swim exec Nick Weidenfeld to helm the subsidiary with Hend Baghdady. Fox is financially committed for a three-year cycle, soft-launching next spring, with the eventual late-night Saturday programming block populated by ADHD breakouts beginning in July around a Comic-Con launch.

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