EXCLUSIVE: FremantleMedia North America COO Donna Redier Linsk has opted not to renew her contract. Redier Linsk will exit the company in July and segue into a new role as a consultant at FMNA’s Fox series American Idol until December. Chief Operating Officer was a new position established by FMNA in 2009 when Redier Linsk was brought in by then-CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz from Fox Broadcasting, where she had been SVP Business Affairs and Alternative Production for five years. At FMNA, Redier Linsk oversaw production, finance, business and legal affairs for all of the company’s entertainment programming and was actively involved in day-to-day production of American Idol, The X Factor and America’s Got Talent. FMNA is expected to name a replacement. “I want to thank Donna for the contribution she made to our business over the last four years,” said Frot-Coutaz, now CEO of parent company FremantleMedia. “She brought us her relentless rigor, business acumen, passion for production and incredible dedication. I will miss her dearly.” Added FMNA CEO Thom Beers, “Donna is an amazing talent.”The COO change is likely part of a companywide restructuring implemented by new FNMA CEO Beers. Over the past couple of months, he split unscripted development for broadcast and cable, bringing Alex Damyanenko to oversee cable projects, and revamped the company’s scripted department, tapping Craig Cegielski as EVP and Stefanie Berk as SVP. Redier Linsk, who had been among those rumored for the FMNA CEO job, was one of two senior executives Beers joined when he took the reins of the company last September, along with Trish Kinane, President of Entertainment Programming – American Idol, The X Factor and America’s Got Talent, who continues to focus on FMNA’s top franchises.
Redier Linsk’s departure adds to the major changes veteran American Idol is undergoing heading into Season 13, which include the exits of Fox head of reality Mike Darnell, executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warrick and judges Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. In the last two weeks, veteran News Corp. executive David Hill was tapped to oversee the show for Fox, and Fremantle brought in Per Blankens, executive producer on the Swedish version of Idol as new EP. Over the next few months, Redier Linsk will assist with the changes and help transition the new producing team. “Being a part of the FremantleMedia team, working across all areas of creative, business and production, was extremely rewarding the past few years,” she said. “While I will miss seeing my colleagues day-to-day, I’m excited to be focusing on the revitalization of American Idol before moving on to my next venture.”