12:00pm PT by Michael O'Connell
Fox Finds New Reality Chief in Rob Wade
Fox isn't just building up its number of unscripted series, the network is bolstering its reality executive ranks as well.
The network on Monday announced that veteran TV producer Rob Wade has been named president of alternative entertainment and specials. He will join the network in March, at which time he will oversee Fox's entire roster of unscripted programming, specials and alternative development.
This marks the first time since the 2013 departure of Mike Darnell that someone has held the post of president in the reality sphere. Fox executive Corie Henson has been running the department since she replaced Simon Andreae as vp alternative entertainment in 2015. (She will continue to work at Fox in her previous capacity, now directly reporting to Wade.)
"Unscripted programming is one of the true hallmarks of broadcast television," Fox TV Group CEOs and chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman said in a statement. "No other platform captures the immediacy and excitement of a big, broad, breakout unscripted hit like broadcast, and we are committed to expanding our efforts in this area beginning today, with Rob. Rob's an incredibly well-respected executive and producer with a proven track record working on reality hits. He's also a creator himself, which makes him the perfect person to lead this charge. We're confident Rob has the creative vision to shape this area in the same way we've shaped the scripted side at the studio through our partnerships with some of the best talent in the business."
Fox needs a big unscripted breakout. Though it has a hearty roster of reality fare, with a slew of projects in the pipeline, it has been the only broadcast network without a shiny reality tentpole since the end of American Idol in 2016. (ABC has Dancing With the Stars and The Bachelor, while NBC boasts The Voice and America's Got Talent and CBS has Survivor.)
Wade is an industry vet with an incredibly good reputation among reality programmers. He most recently served as showrunner of Dancing With the Stars, where he moved into the vacancy held by longtime executive producer Conrad Green, and previously produced The X Factor and America's Got Talent. Wade also has served as an executive, previously working as head of TV at Simon Cowell's SyCo Entertainment North America and head of entertainment development for BBC Worldwide.
“Fox has always been a pioneer in unscripted television, delivering its boldest and most innovative hits,” said Wade. “I am thrilled to be given the chance to work with the best talent in the business and hope I can add to that legacy.”
Gordon Ramsay's The F Word, a revival of The Love Connection and competition Kicking and Screaming are among the new series set to be added to Fox's alternative ranks this year. The trio join a lineup largely dominated by Ramsay's culinary suite of programming and mainstay So You Think You Can Dance. The network just renewed the latter for its 14th cycle.