Fox’s new reality exec is former Discovery Channel exec Simon Andreae

Fox has hired Simon Andreae to replace for Mike Darnell, the long-serving reality executive who quit earlier this summer after 19 years.

Andreae previously worked as senior vice president of development and production for Discovery Channel’s west coast offices, and before that, ran The Incubator, where he produced reality series ranging from WE tv’s Jilted to Science’s Through the Wormhole, but most tended to be actual nonfiction. He oversaw Naked and Afraid at Discovery, for example. He left the network to create a production company in the UK, where he previously was an executive at Channel 4.

Variety reports that “Andreae will be tasked with rebuilding the reality division, as the majority of Darnell’s small team exited the network when the exec stepped down in May.” However, Deadline reports that “the job is smaller than it was under Darnell — and pays less, which eliminated a few of the candidates who’d been in talks, sources report. Andreae will oversee development; Fox veteran David Hill will hang on to the network’s current reality franchises American Idol and The X Factor.”

Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said in a press release quote, “This was a highly sought-after role in town, and given Fox’s legacy in groundbreaking unscripted entertainment, we were looking for a particular caliber of executive — and we found the perfect fit in Simon. Not only is Simon known for innovative thinking, he’s a dynamic leader who has been a producer and a network executive on both sides of the pond, and he has the energy and drive to open a new chapter in Fox unscripted.”

And Andreae said, “I’m very grateful to Kevin and his team for giving me this opportunity. My intention is to help build on Fox’s rich heritage of risk and innovation and to help support and extend its range of category-defining shows and world-leading talent.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.