Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly Discusses His Fall Strategy
TV Guide Magazine: There was some concern that Terra Nova might be pushed back again, given the previous delays on the show. Is it ready to go, and why did you decide to kick off Mondays with it?
Kevin Reilly: We've been sitting on this show, producing it for a while and it's been a big undertaking. It's going to be ready to go for the fall. It's the kind of big idea and big tent show that feels like it could open a time period. I generally don't like putting new shows on at 8, but if you are, you're going to want something like this, that has a big, noisy hook to it.
TV Guide Magazine: Why did you decide not to renew any of your midseason series?
Reilly: We could have been a lot more conservative with our schedule next year. But one of the big things about being strategic is we are looking to change the complexion of the network. We could have plugged in X-Factor and thrown on Terra Nova and a new comedy and called it a day. But we're bringing on a healthy amount of product. The challenge is we really don't want to get complacent.
The challenge is limited shelf space, and unfortunately that meant we had to let go of some of these shows that we've been nurturing along... It's not like we're going to be brutal with everything. We demonstrated patience with Fringe and we'll be nurturing our comedies.
TV Guide Magazine: What happened to The Chicago Code?
Reilly: The Chicago Code was kind of a disappointment in that it was a really good show and had an audience. It comes down to the math of the schedule. We simply didn't have the real estate to fit everything.
TV Guide Magazine: What do you mean by "changing the complexion of the network?"
Reilly: For a long time Fox had the young male core going back in its history. That made it a little bit more of a niche-y network. We're at a place now where we actually have a lot of different audiences coursing through. I think if you really pull back and look at the breadth of things we do at Fox, for a network that only programs 15 hours, I would argue we have the most breadth of creativity and widest range of product. One of the things that has been tricky is a show like Breaking In, which at its core is a show that feels like it should be a Fox comedy. Right now we've been struggling to figure out where that goes.
TV Guide Magazine: What's the plan with Breaking In?
Reilly: That one is a bit of a heartbreaker. You want to give it a shot, but again it comes down to real estate. We're going to have a dialogue when we get back from the upfronts. We've got a hold on the cast until the end of June, so we'll talk before then.
TV Guide Magazine: Was there ever a concern that a House deal might not be made?
Reilly: Yes, there was. We closed it right at the wire, it was certainly a tricky and tough renegotiation. We always wanted it, but it became a very tough financial discussion.
TV Guide Magazine: Is this the last year for House?
Reilly: It's pretty likely. I think House is still really creatively vibrant. We're going to focus on having another great season, and if it does in fact end up being the last season, we'll start promoting that fact when we get there.
TV Guide Magazine: How did you decide to split the Bones time slot with spinoff The Finder?
Reilly: By adding The Finder, we did this planted spinoff that we got some great feedback on. Bones has one of the most loyal fan bases on our network. That's something we want to seed and service. Everybody would like to have a show like Bones, and we said instead of starting from scratch, let's build one out of Bones. We're serving different parts of the audience at Fox but we have to service our core as well.
TV Guide Magazine: What was the overall strategy for Fox this pilot season?
Reilly: By adding The X Factor into the American Idol time slot we've got two big, live-event tent poles to build the schedule around. It's also a more consistent schedule than we've had in the past. As fantastic as Idol has been, the midseason schedule always had to move around to accommodate it. The Wednesday/Thursday pattern with Idol and X Factor is the core of the schedule to move everything around.
For the rest of the schedule, although we didn't have any breakout hits this year, we ended up with a lot of consistency throughout the week. Glee remained vibrant on Tuesday, and Raising Hope really established a stake in the ground for live-action comedy. That was a step in the right direction for us this year. Looking forward to next year, we want to really solidify that comedy success.
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