Well, that didn’t take very long at all. Simon Andreae became on Friday what we like to call the latest “Utopia casualty” over at Fox, as in his short tenure he failed to produce a new alternative hit for Fox. He was the replacement for Mike Darnell, who oversaw much of the run of “American Idol” but exited after the failures of “The X Factor” and other shows.
Fox confirmed the news that Andreae was out on Friday, and we feel for the man in a way given that “Utopia” will be the most notable show on his resume. The series was a huge risk for the network, and was meant to help it recover after years of having “The X Factor” on its fall schedule. However, the ratings for “Utopia” were horrible in the end, and the show was canceled. While all of the other Fox reality franchises (“MasterChef,” “American Idol,” “So You Think You Can Dance”) are still there, we cannot really say that anything new was brought to any of them.
The replacement for Andreae is Electus’ Corie Henson, who is extremely experienced working on a variety of big reality properties, including “Big Brother” and “Dancing with the Stars.” In a statement, Fox’s relatively-new programming heads Gray Newman and Dana Walden had the following to say:
“Corie has the perfect combination of broadcast and producing experience to help us moveour 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 … 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.”
Reality chief is a pretty rough job to have these days. ABC has also seen great turnover in this position. The reality here is that there just hasn’t been a big new reality franchise in years, despite the efforts of many networks to get back on top.
For now, though, we’d say not to expect any changes for your favorite shows. Fox already knows what works, and most of them are profitable enough that Fox doesn’t want to mess them up.
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