Mike Darnell is to step down as Fox Broadcasting Company’s president of alternative entertainment at the end of June.
In a statement issue on Friday afternoon (May 24), Darnell – who has been with the broadcaster for 18 years – said he had been offered a new long-term contract but had declined it, adding that the time was right to “leave and try something new.”
Darnell said: “I’ve been in ‘reality’ since before it was even called that, and it has truly been an amazing ride. However, the world has changed drastically over the last few years and now with hundreds of channels and limitless ways to watch television, I’ve decided this was the perfect time to take advantage of the rapidly changing marketplace.”
There are no details at present regarding any new venture for Darnell, or regarding who will take on his responsibilities at Fox.
Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of Fox’s parent company News Corporation, said: “Mike took risks at a critical time and was a pioneering force in shaping the reality programming genre that exists today. He’s a smart and fearless executive who will be missed.”
Fox Networks Group chairman Peter Rice added: “Mike has been a trailblazer for the entire industry and has made innumerable contributions to the growth and success of the network over the past two decades.
“His passion for – and dedication to – television knows no bounds. He is like a member of the family, and Fox won’t be the same without him. While we wish he would’ve stayed forever, we regretfully accept his decision.”
Darnell joined Fox in 1994 as director of specials, after working for eight years at the network’s Los Angeles affiliate KTTV and the Fox Television Station Group. While at Fox oversaw a raft of hit programming including American Idol, The X Factor, So You Think You Can Dance, Kitchen Nightmares and Joe Millionaire.