Riley has been off the radar since he departed ABC Family in fall 2013. At the time, he said that, after commuting for months between Los Angeles and London, where his partner had relocated, he was planning to move to the UK to look for opportunities in the international marketplace, where he had worked before joining Disney in 2008. Riley indeed spent the past year in the UK, talking with international content creators, though no notable projects came out of it.
Riley replaces longtime KCET head Al Jerome, who led the Los Angeles station’s campaign to end its affiliation with PBS in 2010. Two years later, the station inked a programming partnership with news service Link TV. It is still trying to forge a new identity as an independent TV station in a crowded marketplace.
“After a thorough and comprehensive search from a pool of talented candidates, we are thrilled to bring Michael on board to take the reins of this great public service organization,” said Dick Cook, Chairman of the Board for KCETLink Media Group. “Michael brings a strong track record in brand-defining content creation, strategic partnerships, acquisitions and digital leadership–both domestically and across international markets–which will allow him to build on the solid foundation and momentum created by the KCETLink team under Al Jerome’s leadership.”
During his three-year stint as head of ABC Family, Riley developed and greenlighted such series as Switched At Birth and The Fosters and oversaw Pretty Little Liars‘ ascent in the TV and social media ratings. He previously served as SVP and general manager of Radio Disney.
“This is an exciting time for KCETLink and I’m eager to drive the organization’s mission and continue to provide thought provoking, quality content to our viewers across all media,” Riley said. “I also look forward to deepening our engagement with the communities, partners and stakeholders that we serve here in Southern California, and across the country.”