Rick Rockwell

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Exit Interview: Reality Guru Mike Darnell Recounts His Most Notorious Shows

As the president of alternative programming at Fox, Mike Darnell developed a well-earned reputation as a showman with a wicked mind. "I usually like to take a pitch and twist it into something more evil or more dangerous," says Darnell, who was once called "Fox's Point Man For Perversity" by the New York Times.

Darnell, the man behind some of the most notorious reality series and specials on television over the past two decades, left Fox at the end of July. He's now moving on to Warner Bros. Television Group as president of unscripted and alternative TV.

It's the end of an era for Fox, which meets reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour on Thursday without Darnell for the first time in decades. Network execs are still mulling Darnell's replacement. (Among names that have been rumored for the job: National Geographic Channels CEO David Lyle and president Howard T. Owens; Sharon Levy, Spike TV's executive vice president of original series; and Nigel Lythgoe Productions president Kary McHoul; among others).

American Idol was easily the biggest hit on Darnell's watch, but we all know the ins and outs of that show. Now that he's exiting Fox, we asked Darnell to recount the rest of his greatest reality hits — and misses.

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Videos

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Moment of Zen - Love Hurts - 02/22/2000 - Video Clip | The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Moment of Zen - Darva Conger - 04/26/2000 - Video Clip | The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Rick Rockwell: Best Job in the World

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Credits

Year Title Description
2000 The X Show: Episode Episode, Guest
2000 True Hollywood Story: Rick & Darva: The Million Dollar Mistake Episode, Subject (person only)
1992 Killer Tomatoes Eat France! Movie, Actor
1991 Killer Tomatoes Strike Back Movie, Writer
1991 Killer Tomatoes Strike Back Movie, Actor - Detective Lance Boyle

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