Fox Reality names Lyle president
Network upgrades top executives
By MICHAEL SCHNEIDER
As Fox Reality Channel heads toward its second birthday, David Lyle has been named the net's president.
Lyle has headed up the channel as chief operating officer and general manager since its May 2005 launch. Under his watch, Fox Reality has already hit 35 million homes -- a feat only three other cable outlets (TNT, NFL Network and National Geographic Channel) pulled off so soon after birth.
Lyle's two top execs have also been bumped up: Bob Boden will now serve as senior VP, production and programming, while Lorey Zlotnick has been elevated to senior VP of marketing and on-air promotions.
Boden and Zlotnick report to Lyle, while Lyle answers to Fox Networks Group prexy-CEO Tony Vinciquerra, who made the announcement Monday.
"David knows what makes good reality television and how to satisfy its audience's desire for more," Vinciquerra said. "He's done an outstanding job launching this network and helping to make it grow." Lyle said Fox Reality is "well ahead of its original business plan."
"We've grown up. We've come out of junior high and hit adolescence," he said. "We're in profit, and we've bought a bunch of new acquisitions." In recent days, that has included picking up the ninth, 10th and 11th seasons of "The Amazing Race," as well as several seasons of "Beauty and the Geek," "The Mole" and "Average Joe." U.K. reality series "There's Something About Miriam" will finally run Stateside as well.
"I look forward to unleashing that on the American public," said Lyle, referring to "Miriam's" controversial setup (male contestants unknowingly date a transgendered female).
On the originals side, Boden is about to launch "The Academy" on May 24, while "Solitary 2.0" bows in August. Channel also continues to produce the daily "Reality Remix" roundup and recently branched into original online content with "Nightclub Confessions."
"We're having a lot of fun in the digital sphere," Lyle said. "If reality doesn't run head on into the digital space, then shame on reality. It's interesting to see how you can mix up platforms -- reality has so much more freedom to experiment in that space."
Lyle said he's pleased with the channel's look under Zlotnick. "We're punching above our weight," Lyle said. "We're pleased with how we've pulled it together in programming and our look on air."
Prior to launching Fox Reality, Lyle was president of entertainment at FremantleMedia North America. He was also worldwide head of acquisition and development at Pearson and before that head of development and acquisitions at Australia's Nine Network.