Kevin Reilly's long run at the top of Fox is over: The chief of the network's entertainment division told his staff in a brief farewell note Thursday morning that he will leave by the end of June:
To my friends and colleagues: I have decided to resign as Chairman of Entertainment at FBC, effective at the end of June. While difficult decisions have to be made every day, none have weighed more heavily on me than this. The inspired FOX leadership, coupled with your commitment to excellence at FBC, has provided one of the most rewarding chapters in my life. I love TV. Always have. Since my mother told me to stop sitting so close and watching so much.
A surprise? Well...depends on how you define "surprise:" Reilly, a savvy and highly successful entertainment boss over his decade long run (both here and at NBC), had pretty much seemed to have played all his cards by the end of last season - and even then, the primetime declines were relentless. The problems, in order: 1.) "American Idol." 2.) Sitcoms - as in, they haven't taken off, and in fact quite the opposite; 3.) Dramas, as in "You can't built an entire schedule on 'Sleepy Hollow.' "
Nonetheless, too bad: Reilly, an LI native son - he was born in Manhasset, raised in Port Washington, went to Chaminade in Garden City, then went to Cornell - is a smart exec who clearly loved - with a passion - the best parts of this business, and what makes it exciting. He had many successes but through no fault of his own, was stuck with a declining franchise, "Idol," that simply had nowhere to go but down...