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.
There's a reason why they call Mike Darnell the "dark prince" of reality TV. Darnell, who on Friday announced his exit as the president of alternative entertainment at Fox, is still best known for his in-your-face fare like Joe Millionaire, Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction, The Swan, When Animals Attack and Man vs. Beast.
Some of those shows, like Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire and Temptation Island, led to juicy TV scandals. (It's why the New York Times once billed him as TV's "point man for perversity.") But Darnell also oversaw the biggest TV phenomenon of the past decade: American Idol, a show that was unbeatable in its prime...
Fox's longtime head of alternative programming Mike Darnell, who helped launch American Idol and Joe Millionaire, is leaving his post after 18 years, he announced Friday.
Fox's dark prince of reality TV, Mike Darnell, is dusting off a few of his old tricks. The network has ordered new summer dating game show The Choice, which uses spinning chairs reminiscent of NBC's The Voice and applies it to romance — with celebrities thrown in for good measure.
Hosted by Cat Deeley, The Choice, which debuts Thursday, June 7 at 9/8c, is a mash-up of The Voice and The Dating Game. Four single celebrities (to be announced later) will sit in...
Jeers to Mark L. Walberg for hitting a new low with Moment of Truth. Whatever credibility the ex-Temptation Island pimp er, emcee sought by hosting PBS' Antiques Roadshow got flushed down the old commode with his participation in Fox's ultra-sleazy lie-detector game show. I've got a few queries I'd like Walberg to answer honestly: Are you filled with self-loathing when you ask humiliating questions like whether former football player Ty ever sneaked a peek at a teammate's privates in the shower? Were you telling the truth when you told 46-year-old Hair Club for Men member George that he looks 35? And have you ever tried to pass yourself off as the other Mark Wahlberg to get a table at a restaurant? You know the other Mark, right? He's the one who won't do anything for money.For another take on Moment of Truth, read Matt Roush's newest Dispatch. Read and react to Bruce's opinions on Larry King's flubbed Heath Ledger tribute, Breaking Bad's premiere and more!...