Darnell to Head Warner Bros. TV Unscripted, Alternative Programming
Mike Darnell, who left as Fox's head of alternative programming last month, will head to Warner Bros. Television in a similar role.
The veteran reality executive will become president of unscripted and alternative programming for the studio in a newly-created position. The move puts Darnell in charge of reality programming for both Warner Bros.' Telepictures division and Warner Horizon, which produces The Voice, a rival program for Fox's American Idol, which Darnell helped launch back in 2002.
Warner Horizon's executive VP Craig Erwich will now report to Darnell on unscripted programming, while continuing to report directly to Warner Bros. TV president Peter Roth on scripted matters. Telepictures president Hilary Estey McLoughlin will also transition into a producing role at the studio.
Warner Horizon also produces ABC's Bachelor franchise and The CW's Oh Sit! Telepictures produces syndicated daytime programs The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The People's Court, as well as newsmags Extra and TMZ.
Darnell will also serve as the studio's creative point person in its relationship with Shed Media U.S.
First reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Darnell will report to Peter Roth, Warner Bros. TV group president and chief content officer, and begin Aug. 12. The two worked closely together when Roth served as president of Fox Entertainment from 1996-99.
"No single person has had a more profound impact on the unscripted and alternative genre than Mike Darnell," said Roth. "His creative instincts, his knack for embracing and capturing the zeitgeist, and his endless desire for discovery have fueled his extraordinary success. There was simply no way we could pass up the opportunity to have him join us at Warner Bros."
The appointment of Darnell marks the first major hire of Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara since he was elevated to the role in January. Darnell has previously spent the past 18 years with Fox.
Added Darnell: "When I decided to leave Fox two months ago, my hope was to be able to stretch my fingers beyond network television and into other distribution platforms. My first thought was to go into production for myself. But then my good friend Peter Roth made me an offer I couldn't refuse -- the opportunity to develop new shows and run the vast array of alternative shows that Warner Bros. already has going, which include not only some of the most successful on network television, but also an incredible presence on cable and in first-run syndication."
The smarter way to stay on top of the multichannel video marketplace. Sign up below.