Kevin Reilly is stepping down as chairman of
The major shake-up comes after the Fox television network wrapped up a bruising season, with ratings for its regularly scheduled shows slumping. Reilly's decision to leave had been in the works for several weeks, and negotiations accelerated this week, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Fox has already begun a search for a successor to Reilly, and was expected to look at outside candidates as well as executives who currently work within the company, according to a second knowledgeable person.
The move occurs at an awkward time. The network just two weeks ago unveiled its new fall schedule for advertisers, which included the DC Comics inspired show, "Gotham," and a comedy starring
Fox ended the TV season in fourth place in overall viewers with an average of 7.5 million viewers a night, helped in part, by large audiences for NFL football games, including the Super Bowl.
But the network's entertainment slate has struggled for traction.
The network's longtime ratings engine,
Reilly joined Fox in July 2007 as its entertainment president after exiting
Reilly almost immediately made a splash at Fox, which had been struggling creatively. During Reilly's tenure at Fox, the network launched such hits as
In August 2012, Reilly was promoted to chairman of entertainment when his boss, Peter Rice, was elevated to oversee all of Fox's entertainment and sports networks.
It was unclear Thursday morning who would replace Reilly, but industry insiders have speculated that John Landgraf, who runs
Earlier in his career, Reilly ran programming at FX, helping to establish the cable channel as a destination for edgy entertainment with such shows as "The Shield."