9:45 a.m. I was on the fence about live-blogging this FOX executive session, but with Twitter down, I sortta had my hand forced. Thus, in lieu of tweets, I’ll be doing roughly the same thing here in blog form. The news and snarking begins after the break…
9:54 a.m. Kevin Reilly and Peter Rice are dressed nearly identical. Rice is in a black suit and Reilly’s in dark navy. Rice says he’s been looking forward to getting to know us all but, “I guess that all changed 36 hours ago.”
9:55 a.m. “It’s something that is very saddening to us,” Rice says of Paula Abdul’s departure. Rice says negotiations with Paula predated his arrival at the studio and says, “We very much wanted her to return.” He says they offered her “a substantial raise” and adds that it wasn’t their choice and wasn’t what they wanted to happen. They don’t yet know what they’re going to do, but the audition process is ongoing. “Our intention is to have guest judges at each one of those auditions,” he teases.
9:57 a.m. The guest judges will all be female artist. Female pop stars and singers. They hope to have a replacement for Paula soon. “We’re very sad that she’s not coming back,” Rice says, “She’s been a very important part of the ‘Idol’ family.”
9:59 a.m. The first question? Is there any chance of Paula coming back? Rice says they’ve concluded their negotiations and she says she isn’t coming back. That’s not the same as “No,” though. Have they thought about just having three judges? They’ll decide between now and January. Both Reilly and Rice insist that the judges were finding their
10:00 a.m. Reilly jokes that the “Save ‘Dollhouse'” campaign began before the show ever premiered. He adds that although he wasn’t scared of the fans, the devotion of fans impacted the decision to bring the show back.
10:01 a.m. Peter Rice says that Katy Perry and Victoria Beckham are the first two confirmed guest judges for “American Idol” and he promises that there will be excitement over the other people as well.
10:03 a.m. Reilly says that the “Glee” preview went as well as they could have hoped, that it was really just a marketing ploy. He says that it’s been sampled by 25 million people and that “the chatter and the talk” have gotten louder. But Reilly still tempers expectations, saying, “I don’t think we’re looking for this to be the biggest phenomenon of the fall.”
10:05 a.m. Ryan Seacrest is *not* being paid $15 million to be on “Idol.” He’s being paid that much for a lot of things.
10:06 a.m. On the mandate for “Dollhouse,” Reilly says, “To keep doing what he’s doing… That is really the gift of Joss.”
10:06 a.m. Kara DioGuardi’s new “Idol” deal was the triggering of an option and not the signing of a fresh contract (hence the statements about Paula Abdul being the only judge whose contract was up).
10:07 a.m. Kevin Reilly says that FOX is not going to pick up new “Futurama” before episodes get their first run on Comedy Central, but that if it’s successful there, they may jump in for later new episodes.
10:09 a.m. What are FOX’s hopes for the fall, pre-“Idol”? “If we can be stable and competitive and add a show or two that will return on the back-nine and thereafter, that’s where we want to be,” Reilly says.
10:10 a.m. “We never have and there’re certainly no plans to do that,” Reilly says in response to questions about if they programmed at 10 p.m. hour they’d respond to Jay Leno. And if Hugh Laurie became a unicorn, how would that impact the plotlines of “House”?
10:11 a.m. “Our expectation and hope was that Paula was going to come back,” Rice says, emphasizing that they don’t have deep contingencies. The guest judges will be there for one week apiece. “Idol” has, after all, had guest judges in the past. There’s no plan for any of the guests to become long-term and most of them probably won’t be available to judge full-time. “We have from now until January to introduce a different energy to the panel,” Rice says. The key is chemistry. Reilly says that chemistry was what Paula brought back. But plenty of shows have replaced people with chemistry in the past. “When shows are this successful, it’s very easy to take for granted the level of producing,” Reilly assures us that “Idol” is on good footing.
10:14 a.m. “These guys are funny,” Rice cracks after a joke from the crowd.
10:15 a.m. Will the producers be looking for somebody as high maintenance as Paula to fill the Paula slot? “It really is a casting job,” Rice says, going back to the issue of chemistry, but also to the casting of each season’s 24 or 36 finalists. “Our job in the next four or five months is to really consider what makes this the most fun, what makes it the most entertaining,” Rice says.
10:15 a.m. Ben Silverman time! “I assumed you were going to ask if he’s going to judge on ‘Idol,'” Rice deadpans to the Silverman question. “It hasn’t effected FOX for the past two years,” Reilly says.
10:16 a.m. “We’re not talking to Katy Perry about a full-time judge. Is there a possibility that we could have full-time guest judges on ‘Idol’? Yes,” Rice says, but says that it isn’t a probability.
10:18 a.m. “Glee” is aspirational.
10:18 a.m. What was Reilly’s reaction to Silverman’s departure? “The real announcement or the six-month pre-announcement?” Reilly cracks before mentioning that he enjoyed working with Silverman as a producer.
10:19 a.m. “I think that you guys love television and you help us to spread the word about television,” Rice butters us up before telling us that we’re entitled to our opinions. He wants our feedback.
10:20 a.m. Somebody asks if Paula’s absence will be a blessing in disguise. Rice won’t bite. He repeats his lines about being saddened and the decision not being theirs and how this is an opportunity for different energy and whatnot. We’ve heard this already. He thinks the semi-uproar they’re hearing suggests that people care, which is really all that matters.
10:21 a.m. What of “King of the Hill” and “Moment of Truth”? There’s no plan to return either of them to the air.
10:22 a.m. Boy, that was much harder than tweeting the session.