Cecile Frot-Coutaz Promoted to CEO of 'Idol' Producer FremantleMedia

Roger Davies

Fremantle North America's CEO has said her company is "in the Simon Cowell business."

UPDATED: Currently CEO of FremantleMedia North America, which also is behind "The X Factor," she will succeed Tony Cohen, who is stepping down.

LONDON -- RTL Group said Thursday that it has promoted Cecile Frot-Coutaz to CEO of its FremantleMedia production arm, effective July 1.

Currently CEO of FremantleMedia North America, she will succeed Tony Cohen, who will step down to focus on his nonexecutive work, the company said. Frot-Coutaz will move to London.

Guillaume de Posch and Anke Schaferkordt, newly appointed co-CEOs of RTL, said: “After being with the group for 17 years, Cecile has the vision and leadership that are needed to further grow FremantleMedia. She brings expertise and drive from the largest TV market in the world and combines her creative skills as a producer with a sharp business perspective.”

De Posch also thanked Cohen for "his outstanding achievements," saying that he "transformed FremantleMedia from a collection of individual entities into a global content powerhouse."

Frot-Coutaz currently oversees the development, production and operations of more than 600 hours of network, cable and syndicated programming. Under her guidance, the firm is handling such shows as American Idol, The X Factor, America’s Got Talent, Family Feud, The Price Is Right and the scripted The Wedding Band.

In the U.S., Frot-Coutaz has long been a part of the American Idol brain trust. She not only supervised the show directly from the control room, but was an integral decision maker when it came to casting on-air talent for judging panels on both Idol and X Factor.

Speaking to THR on Monday, Frot-Coutaz described the current climate for competition television shows as "tough -- networks are in a very tough place, the numbers are not what they used to be and viewers are going elsewhere; they¹re on DVR, online and going to cable. ... As suppliers that sort puts increased pressure on all of us."

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai