Mike Darnell Fox

Fox vet and reality guru to oversee unscripted and alternative for the studio

After exiting Fox following an 18-year tenure at the net, Mike Darnell has announced plans to settle in at Warner Bros., where he will lead the studio’s unscripted and alternative arm.

Warner Bros. TV Group prez and chief content officer Peter Roth carved the president post out for Darnell, who will begin the gig on Aug. 12. Darnell is tasked with overseeing first-run syndie series out of Telepictures Prods. along with the unscripted primetime TV from Warner Horizon.

The introduction of Darnell to Warner Bros. exec ranks serves as an effort to align Telepictures and Warner Horizon’s unscripted pipelines. Programs under Telepictures’ umbrella includes “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Extra,” “TMZ” and forthcoming daytime show “Bethenny.” Warner Horizon’s wheelhouse includes “The Bachelor” franchise, “The Voice” and CW’s “Capture.”

“No single person has had a more profound impact on the unscripted and alternative genre than Mike Darnell,” Roth stated. The exec had nudged Darnell toward the WB prexy post while Darnell was mulling over production options following his departure from Fox. Roth continued: “His creative instincts, his knack for embracing and capturing the zeitgeist, and his endless desire for discovery have fueled his extraordinary success. There was simply no way we could pass up the opportunity to have him join us at Warner Bros.”

Darnell craved an outlet beyond network television after leading Fox’s alternative division, where he launched game-changing reality shows including “American Idol.” He noted his urge to branch out into cable and digital, and continued, “Peter Roth made me an offer I couldn’t refuse — the opportunity to develop new shows and run the vast array of alternative shows that Warner Bros. already has going, which include not only some of the most successful on network television, but also an incredible presence on cable and in first-run syndication.

The former Fox exec is still not sure if he will bring members of his Fox team with him to Warner Bros., including senior veep Tom Sheets, but considers it a strong possibility.

Darnell did not have comment on the state of “American Idol” and “The X Factor” at Fox, both of which have struggled with ratings and continuous judge shakeups over the last few seasons.

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