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FX snags Reilly to beef up sked

Strong rerun shows help lure new prexy

NEW YORK — The FX cable network has signaled its seriousness about producing original movies and series by signing Kevin Reilly, president of Brad Grey Television, to the new post of president of entertainment (Daily Variety, Aug. 15).

Reilly, 37, says one of the reasons he resigned from Brad Grey TV, where he worked on such hits as “The Sopranos” and “Just Shoot Me,” is that FX has bought some of the most potent rerun hours on television for use as lead-ins and promotional vehicles for the network’s new programming.

Over the next year or two, FX will be able to start scheduling “Ally McBeal,” “The Practice,” “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” and “That ’70s Show,” among others. FX now strips “The X-Files” and “NYPD Blue.”

And Peter Liguori, president of FX Networks, says Reilly will be able to work from a strapping budget of more than $155 million in 2000 and upwards of $170 million in 2001 for both original and rerun programming.

Miles to go

But FX has a long way to go. In the second quarter of 2000, for example, it averaged only a 0.7 rating in cable homes for its primetime schedule, putting it in a 15th-place tie among all basic-cable networks. For calendar 1999, FX also averaged a 0.7 in primetime, which stuck it in a tie for 19th in basic cable.

The focus of Reilly’s attention from day one, he says, will be on beefing up the primetime and late-night schedule, following up on the rating success of the Howard Stern-produced weekly half-hour comedy “Son of the Beach,” a satire of “Baywatch,” and FX’s first-ever original movie “Deliberate Intent,” which ran last week. Reilly will work out of FX’s Los Angeles office.

On series, Reilly says, “I’m looking for a program with network-TV quality but with a distinctive point of view. I don’t just want to produce a variation on something that’s available on any of the broadcast networks. But I also don’t want to do a show that’s so bizarre only four people watching it will get the joke.”

Sophisticated auds

Liguori agrees, saying that FX is programming for “a media-savvy audience, which is thirsting for series and movies that go beyond the tried and true.”

Reilly spent the last six years at Brad Grey TV, the TV-production arm of Brillstein-Grey Entertainment. Before that, he worked as an executive for NBC, starting as manager of creative affairs for NBC Prods. in 1988 and ending up as VP of drama development for NBC Entertainment from 1992 to 1994. At NBC, he helped to develop “ER,” “Homicide,” “Law & Order” and “Saved By the Bell.”

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