Want to know if your favorite Fox show will be back next season? You're going to have to wait a little while longer.
In particular, the fates of House, Fringe and freshman series Terra Nova remain undecided, Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly told reporters Sunday at the winter TV previews. "We've done a good job of avoiding some of these big decisions," Reilly said with a laugh. "I do feel fortunate that we have some high-class problems."
House's future has been in question since Reilly first announced a year ago that the show's eighth season may be its last. But Reilly says he's yet to come to a firm decision with show creator David Shore. "It's hard to imagine the network without House," Reilly said. "We're talking as we go along, but we haven't had the big meeting about what we want to do."
However, two things are certain: If this is the end of House's run, Reilly said it will "absolutely have a satisfying conclusion. ... It's not going have an unceremonious finish." Secondly, a House spin-off is definitely not in the cards. "That time has come and gone," Reilly said. "David just never creatively found something that excited him. Maybe something comes up in the 11th hour, and I would always want to hear that, but we're not in that desperate place where we need to keep some vestige of it going."
That Fox has a healthy schedule also plays into Reilly's decision regarding the renewal of the expensive dino-drama Terra Nova. (And that decision may be the one to come quickest: Reilly said production needs to get under way later this month if there is to be a second season.)
"[Terra Nova] was an exciting bet to take. It was worthwhile," Reilly said. "We're trying to figure out... if that's the best show [for our schedule]. If we had more holes, we'd be thrilled to lock that right in. ... If this is all we produce, we made money on it, the studio made money on it, and the audience enjoyed it."
On the other hand, Fringe 's low ratings, despite improving the network's overall Friday night performance, are becoming increasingly cost-ineffective, Reilly said. "We lose a lot money on the show," Reilly said. "At that rating, on that night, it's almost impossible for us to make money on it. That's been the case now over the last season. We're not in the business of losing money."
But, Reilly insisted, he's not canceling it... yet. "I'm not doing the soft cancel here," Reilly said. "Please don't start the letter writing campaign now. ... We really do have to sit down with that entity and figure out if there's a number at which it makes sense. ... I don't want to drop the ball at the end and let the fans down. I hope we get some credit with the fans of seeing through a great show that they've enjoyed."
One show Reilly has made a decision about: Allen Gregory. The animated comedy from Jonah Hill will not return. "We will not be making any more Allen Gregory," he said. "Our goal was to keep as many of the legacy [animated] shows intact, but we want to try to continue to take shots for the next generation. Some are going to work; some aren't. Allen Gregory, it turns out, was not it."
Other highlights from Reilly's session:
There will be no Glee spin-off: After some confusion regarding the future of graduating characters, including Lea Michele's Rachel and Chris Colfer's Kurt, over the summer, Reilly set the record straight. "There will not be a spin-off," he said. "Those characters will graduate, and it's led to a very interesting idea that I think is going to really give us something to dig into next season. That's all I can say about it now. But I like where it's going to really set us up in that spring batch of episodes and where it's going to set us up for next season."
Is Steve Jones out for X Factor's second season? Reilly would only say that tweaks would be made to the show overall before next season. "The hosting gig, as we know, is a much harder job than meets the eye," Reilly said. "I think everyone has come to learn the value of a Ryan Seacrest. Those are very hard jobs to do. Whether Steve's the guy or not, it comes under the heading of growth in general. There will be some tweaks to the show, but I am very happy to have it. It's going to be a part of us for a long time."
Speaking of Seacrest... Reilly said the network absolutely is making a play to keep him as the host of American Idol beyond this season, when his contract expires. "It's very hard to imagine the show without Ryan," he said. "We certainly want to keep him. There's no creative discussion there whatsoever. It is a deal issue... and it's a tough negotiation and one that will come to a conclusion pretty quickly."
Fox axes So You Think You Can Dance results show
On So You Think You Can Dance's format change: "Dance is still kind of a big tentpole of the summer," Reilly said. "I think it's going to be a nice change of format for the audience. It wasn't about reducing hours or cutting costs. We wanted to get a few more shows on over the summer and we wanted to smooth out our summer so we don't stop early and have these dead weeks leading up to the [fall] season."
Fox is launching a new animated comedy block. The network has signed a deal with Nick Weidenfeld, former head of program development for Adult Swim, to create new animated shows for a late-night block (11-12:30 pm/ET) on Saturdays. The original shorts and series will also be a part of a new digital channel that will be available via the Internet, mobile apps, on-demand, and other digital platforms.