Simon Andreae is stepping down as head of alternative programming for Fox after a year on the job. He will be succeeded by Electus’ Corie Henson, who has been named EVP of alternative entertainment, overseeing the network’s slate of unscripted programming, specials and development. She reports to entertainment president David Madden. Meanwhile, Andreae will be returning to his producing roots, inking a producing deal with te network.
“Corie has the perfect combination of broadcast and producing experience to help us move our unscripted brand forward,” said Fox TV Group chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman. “Seeing the tremendous work that she, Chris Grant and the team at Electus have done, Corie clearly knows what it’s like to be on the creative side of the business, but also has a proven track record of developing and shepherding big, broad network hits.”
Andreae had a tough act to follow, taking the top unscripted post after the departure of long-time Fox reality boss Mike Darnell. He took a few swings, including buying pre-emptively the big-budget John de Mol social experiment Utopia and also picking up the eyebrow-raising “bomb-defusing” game show format Boom.
Fox went all in on Utopia, which fizzled, cancelled after a brief run. No other concepts developed or bought by Andreae have hit the air yet though several are in the pipeline. Additionally, Andreae’s bi-continental life — he continues to travel back and forth between Los Angeles and his native UK where his family lives — has been logistically challenging.
“I’ve had a tremendous adventure at Fox and I’m so proud to have built such a strong team of talented executives,” said Andreae. “We have a really exciting range of new unscripted shows in the pipeline, and I am looking forward to continuing to collaborate with the Fox team in this new role.”
This is the second department head to depart under Fox’s new regime of Walden, Newman and Madden. Shana C. Waterman, who oversaw longform/event series programming for the network, exited in November.
Rumors about a possible change at the helm of Fox’s alternative department intensified several weeks ago when Newman and Dana reportedly started quietly meeting with potential candidates.
Henson most recently served as EVP of Unscripted Television at Electus, where she oversaw the company’s unscripted TV business, including Running Wild With Bear Grylls, and the upcoming Breaking Greenville and The Raft. Prior to that, Henson was VP of Alternative Series at ABC Entertainment, where she oversaw new series development, as well as production for hit series, including Dancing With The Stars, Shark Tank and the Extreme Makeover franchise.
Henson has also served as a producer on such series as Big Brother for CBS, Grease: You’re The One That I Want!’ for NBC and the syndicated show On Air With Ryan Seacrest for Fox affiliates; and as an executive producer on The Secret Life Of A Soccer Mom for TLC.