(Reuters) - Kevin Reilly has been promoted to chairman of entertainment at Fox Broadcasting Co, the network said on Monday, the latest move in a shuffle of News Corp’s entertainment executives ahead of the company’s split into two businesses next year.
He will be in charge of programming, scheduling, marketing, research and business affairs.
Reilly joined Fox in 2007 after a stint as NBC’s president of entertainment. In his previous role as entertainment president at Fox, he oversaw the debut of hit comedies “Glee” and “New Girl” and singing competition “The X Factor” in Fox’s prime-time lineup.
Fox trails CBS in total viewers but has ranked No. 1 among 18- to 49-year-olds, the group most prized by advertisers, for eight straight seasons.
Fox faces challenges in the coming season as “American Idol” has seen its audiences shrink over 11 seasons. While “Idol” remains the No. 1 non-sports broadcast on television, viewership dropped 30 percent for the season that ended in May, according to Nielsen ratings data.
In July, Reilly told TV critics that Fox may lose the 18- to 49-year-old age group to CBS, which will benefit from its broadcast of the Super Bowl next January.
Still, Reilly said he was optimistic about new comedy shows including “The Mindy Project” created by and starring “The Office” actress Mindy Kaling, and “Ben and Kate,” a series about an odd-couple pair of siblings. To revive “Idol,” the network signed pop superstar Mariah Carey as a judge.
Reilly takes over from Peter Rice, who was promoted in July to chairman and chief executive of Fox Networks Group, a job that involves overseeing sports and Fox’s cable networks.
There has been much speculation in recent months about how News Corp will cram all of its executive talent into the new News Corp entertainment company after the split from its newspapers and publishing business.
Rupert Murdoch relented to pressure from investors to split off the company’s newspapers and publishing from the entertainment arm to boost valuation of the entertainment assets, which were being discounted because of their association with the struggling newspaper business. The split is expected to be completed in 2013.
Reporting By Liana B. Baker in New York and Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Maureen Bavdek and Gunna Dickson