'Empire' and Kevin Reilly: Not the Only Show to Become a Hit for a Fired Exec

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Kevin Reilly

'The Voice,' 'Lost' and four other TV series hit it big after the network chiefs left.

This story first appeared in the April 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

So, where is Kevin Reilly's Rolex? New Fox TV Group chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman gave watches to the cast of Fox's megahit Empire, but it was Reilly who greenlighted the show before being ousted in May. That fact is not lost on the now TBS/TNT president, who joked to The Wall Street Journal on March 20 that he could have used Empire "a year earlier" when Fox was flailing. Reilly isn't the first network chief to see his development projects hit big after he was gone. Below are five who can empathize.

Warren Littlefield, NBC

Littlefield put four-time drama Emmy winner The West Wing in development before he left in 1998. His successors ordered it to series. 

Kim LeMasters,  CBS

LeMasters resigned in November 1989, months before Emmy winner Northern Exposure launched in July 1990.

Doug Herzog, Fox

Herzog left in March 2000, only two months after Malcolm in the Middle launched. It ran for seven seasons and won a Peabody.

Lloyd Braun, ABC

Before Braun was pushed out in April 2004, he developed hits Lost and Desperate Housewives, which turned the net around.

Jeff Gaspin, NBC

When Gaspin was ousted in November 2010, he'd already OK'd The Voice, which launched in April 2011 and rocketed NBC to No. 1.