By Jessica Shambora
September 4, 2008

“He always used to say to me, ‘You know what? One day, we’re all going to get fired. It just happens. So you might as well take risks. At least then you’ll know why you’re fired.’”

–Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of Fremantle Media North America, co-producer of American Idol, as reported in “Reality TV’s Jackpot Queen” in the new issue of Fortune. Frot-Coutaz received this advice from former boss Greg Dykes (who later became head of the BBC) when she was a strategist for Pearson’s TV division in London. Learning to take risks paid off. She was instrumental in bringing Idol from Britain to the U.S. and selling it to Fox. She’s also a force behind the recent hit on NBC, America’s Got Talent.

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