David Lyle, Former Head of Nat Geo and Fremantle, Dies at 67

Exec led Fremantle during Fox launch of “American Idol”

David Lyle, former head of National Geographic Channels and FremantleMedia North America, died Thursday at 67 after battling cancer. His passing was confirmed by Propagate Content co-CEO Howard Owens, who worked with Lyle at NatGeo.

Lyle was the first president of entertainment of Fremantle USA, and his successes there included the launch of “American Idol” on Fox.

He took over as CEO of NatGeo in 2010 and was behind such series as “Wicked Tuna,” “Life Below Zero” and the “Killing” franchise that included “Killing Kennedy” and “Killing Lincoln.” NatGeo picked up its first-ever Emmy nomination for scripted programming for “Kennedy.”

More recently, he was president of PactUS, organization representing independent U.S. content and TV producers, and he led its merger with the Non-Fiction Producers Association (NPA).

He got his start in Australia, where he ran programming at Nine Network.