Fox executive behind "Does Someone Have to Go?" leaving the network

The mastermind behind "American Idol" -- and last night's cruel firing-themed show -- to depart

By Daniel D'Addario

Published May 24, 2013 8:55PM (EDT)

Evidently, he was the one who had to go.

Mike Darnell, Fox's president of alternative entertainment, is leaving the network, Fox said via press release.

Darnell was the executive responsible for reality series like "American Idol" and "The X Factor" -- as well as the series that debuted last night, "Does Someone Have to Go?," which asks office workers to decide which of their colleagues should be fired. Writing for Salon, Willa Paskin called it "a vile show," noting, "Obviously, someone does have to go, but it really should be all the cameras."

Aside from the two singing-themed reality series -- one of which has cratered in the ratings, the other of which has never caught on despite perpetual reinvention -- Darnell's résumé is full of the sort of provocative specials and series Fox was known for in its wilder early years: “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?” “Man vs. Beast,” “World’s Scariest Police Chases,” "The Swan," “When Animals Attack!,” et al.

In an interview previewing "Does Someone Have to Go?," Darnell told TVLine:

"We’re not talking about an arbitrary firing. If you watch the premiere, you realize there’s all this pent-up angst within a company. And [the format of the show provides] a cathartic way to get out the issues: Let’s see what everybody thinks of each other. Let’s find out what everybody makes. Let’s figure out what the problems are."

Daniel D'Addario

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American Idol Does Someone Have To Go Fox Mike Darnell The X Factor