The past few TCA press tours, FOX Entertainment President Kevin Reilly has shared the dais with FOX Chairman Peter Rice, whose greatest contribution has been attempting to prove that he does, in fact, watch television. On Friday (August 4), it’s only Reilly.
Let the inevitable fireworks begin…
11:34 a.m. Kevin Reilly says that, alas, he cannot confirm anything about Jennifer Lopez on “American Idol.” He warns us that this won’t be a newsy session, but that FOX is proud of its shows this year. He predicts that FOX is going to have success in every genre this year. That means that he’s optimistic about “New Girl.”
11:35 a.m. First question is about “Glee” and cast morale. “I was extreme upset myself to learn about this on Twitter… I’m kidding,” Reilly says, saying it’s taken on a little bit more heat and momentum than it actually. “This show is such an undertaking and the management of the whole enterprise…” he begins to give us an impression of the overall scope. “It’s a big management undertaking,” Reilly says. “I think that Ryan and his group of associates there do a phenomenal job of managing that,” he says. He adds that the possible spinoff is still in the wind. He promises this will be a back-to-basics year on “Glee.” He says, “‘Glee’ is an incredibly creative enterprise,” adding that the worst you can say is that it’s “too much of a good thing.”
11:40 a.m. “Those guys get along really well,” Kevin says, adding that “Ryan [Murphy] is who he is and that’s why I love him.” He continues to emphasize that there are no problems on “Glee.” He ignores my question about whether or not there’s a perception problem, even if there’s no actual problem. “I think it’s really going to play itself out when you see the work this season.”
11:42 a.m. “The history of FOX has been a patchy fall,” Reilly admits. FOX is looking forward to the ALCS this year, hoping that the Red Sox and Yankees might boost the network. Yes, he has high hopes for “The X Factor,” but he looks across the week and feels good about the other nights. “I want to be a year-round network,” Reilly swears. “We’ve got multiple shows that could work. We know about the noise that ‘Terra Nova’ is going to make,” he says, even threatening that “we’re going to be a force in comedy this year.” He salutes “Raising Hope” and “New Girl.” He makes no mention of “I Hate My Teenage Daughter.” For good reason.
11:44 a.m. Will the “Glee 3-D” movie boost the show? “I think it’s neither here nor there for the series,” Reilly says.
11:45 a.m. What’s up with Seth MacFarlane’s “Cosmos” and why are they doing it? “This is a very unique property. It really doesn’t feel like a natural properly on FOX,” Reilly admits it. He values the property and says that in addition to people loving the original “Cosmos,” it had an ancillary benefit in drawing people to TV. “There’s something about the brand that I think is enduring,” Reilly says. Oh right. NatGeo is a sister network. He adds that “there’s talk about a feature component” to “Cosmos” and that it will have “a long tail.”
11:47 a.m. There will be a few weeks in which potential sixth or seventh games of baseball may force FOX to push “X Factor” to Tuesday nights, but otherwise it will be “pretty manageable.” Most of the baseball will be over the weekends.
11:48 a.m. Poor “America’s Most Wanted.” Why has it been reduced? “We have some real legacy shows and that was one of them,” Reilly says, calling it “an unsung hero.” But apparently the show was surprisingly costly and “AMW” had become a financial loser. “We don’t want to just reduce the show down to a nub,” Reilly says. “That real estate… we’re not going to be in the repeat business anymore,” Reilly says of the need to get encores onto Saturdays. There will be specials and John Walsh is looking for a new network home.
11:50 a.m. What’s happening with “Breaking In”? FOX still plans on going to a four-comedy block for the spring. They still have “Little in Common” and “Teenage Daughter” for the spring. “I liked ‘Breaking In.’ We all like ‘Breaking In,'” Reilly says, calling it “a judgment call.” Reilly says “Breaking In” still has a shot to be part of that four-comedy block. “Stranger things have happened,” Reilly says, but he also clearly says that they haven’t ordered anything, merely extended the option on the actors.
11:51 a.m. Is FOX confident “Terra Nova” will be able to deliver weekly episodes? Reilly has seen five episodes now. He admits that expectations were so elevated that they didn’t want to put anything out premature. It sounds as if the special effects are going to push every episode to the last second. “They’re right on schedule to where they need to be,” Reilly swears. As for what “Terra Nova” brings to FOX, Reilly says he hopes this will be a show that demands the attention of viewers. “Every drama is a big bet. There is no inexpensive drama on television and that includes cable,” Reilly says. “Terra Nova” has already been sold well internationally and because of amortized costs, it isn’t such a big bet. He claims that even more than the concept and the effects, he likes the cast. “I think we’ve got a real shot with this,” Reilly says.
11:55 a.m. The reality competition genre isn’t cheap anymore, but in terms of the real estate they take up on the schedule, “The X Factor” and “American Idol” are still good value and that they are still highly profitable as far as advertisers are concerned. Reilly doesn’t doubt, by the way, that a scripted show will be No. 1 for a season again someday.
11:57 a.m. What are FOX’s expectations for “Fringe” on Fridays? “One of the good things about having a strong network is that you can support creative shows that deserve to be on the air,” Reilly says, calling “Fringe” one of the great victories for FOX last season. “I don’t expect ‘Fringe’ to grow. It’s a pretty complex show,” Reilly says. “If ‘Fringe’ can do exactly what it did last year, we’re going to be very, very happy with it and we’ll see what happens in May,” he adds.
11:59 a.m. And what about the future of “Bones”? “I think the producer would like to keep it going and we’d like to keep it going,” Reilly says of possible future seasons for “Fringe.” “We’ve been pretty darned happy with the performance of ‘Bones’ on Thursday night,” Reilly adds.
12:00 p.m. What impact will “American Horror Story” on “Glee”? “Even if I had the talk, he wouldn’t listen anyway,” Reilly says of Ryan Murphy and the need to manage time. Reilly points out that up til this point, “Glee” has been written by three people and three people only and that this season will have a full staff. Reilly repeats that there won’t be any big guest-star-driven episodes — that means no Gwyneth — or big theme-driven episodes. The fall “Glee” episodes will have a clear arc, with a graduation at the end.
12:03 p.m. Will “House” be in its last season this year? “I can’t confirm that it’s the last season. We’ve talked pretty publicly about the potential for that,” Reilly says. They’re going to talk with Hugh Laurie and the creative team. “They want to go out strong, so we’re going to revisit this later in the fall,” Reilly says. FOX’s only decision is whether this will be the last “House” season on FOX. Universal will still be able to pitch the show to other networks (NBC, duh).
12:04 p.m. “Million Dollar Money” drop is dead. Duh.
12:05 p.m. “It’s the shows that bring them in,” Reilly says of whether or not viewers still have brand loyalty for individual networks. FOX has research proving that viewers do, indeed, see FOX as being somewhat different.
12:06 p.m. “I thought it went pretty well. I loved it,” Reilly says of the “X Factor” panel. He raves about “the dark charm” of Simon Cowell. “You can’t resist him,” Reilly says of Cowell. “I love the composition and electricity of this panel,” Reilly says of his “X Factor” team. If he’s referring to electricity,” he may have missed Nicole Scherzinger’s comatose mumbling.
That’s all, folks…