1:15pm PT by Lacey Rose, Michael O'Connell
Fox Reality Chief Simon Andreae Out, Network Taps Electus Exec
Reality TV's game of musical chairs continues.
Fox announced Friday that alternative chief Simon Andreae is out, and will be replaced by Electus' Corie Henson as executive VP of alternative entertainment. Henson will report to newly installed entertainment president David Madden, and will oversee the network's slate of unscripted programming and specials. As part of the expected shake-up, Andreae, a former Discovery executive who had been in the job for only a year, will transition into a producer role.
The news comes after a particularly rough fall for Fox, with the network kicking off the 2014-15 season with Andreae's hugely expensive misfire, Utopia. The project, which aimed to sequester a troupe of strangers away from society for a full year, was supposed to fill the gap left by The X Factor. Instead, it limped out of the gate in September — ultimately meeting the axe two months later. Though Fox TV Group chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman both preached patience for the John de Mol project, which was ordered before their tenure, its last aired episode pulled a pulse-less 0.5 rating among adults 18-49 and barely more than 1.5 million viewers.
“Corie has the perfect combination of broadcast and producing experience to help us move our unscripted brand forward. Seeing the tremendous work that she, Chris Grant and the team at Electus have done, Corie clearly knows what it’s like to be on the creative side of the business, but also has a proven track record of developing and shepherding big, broad network hits,” said Walden and Newman in a statement Friday, adding: “As we look to expand our alternative slate, Corie will play a key role in helping us find and launch the next generation of bold, aspirational and adventurous FOX reality fare.”
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Henson previously served as a VP at ABC, where she oversaw Shark Tank, a Walden-favorite, as well as Extreme Makeover and Dancing with the Stars, before joining Electus as executive VP of unscripted. In the latter role, she worked on series including Running Wild with Bear Grylls and the upcoming Breaking Greenville and The Raft. Her other producing credits include CBS' Big Brother, NBC's Grease: You're The One That I Want! and the syndicated series On Air with Ryan Seacrest for Fox's affiliates. “Fox has always been an innovator and leader in unscripted television," she noted of her new role, adding: "I'm grateful to Dana, Gary and David for the opportunity to be part of this legacy where talent matters most and great producers and creativity are valued.”