[01/11/11 - 02:01 PM]
FOX at TCA: Bubble Shows, Development Are Hot Topics
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- "I don't believe for a second all the great shows are on cable," Kevin Reilly said about his stable of series at FOX.

Reilly and Peter Rice, the network's entertainment president and chairman, respectively, were on hand today at the TCA Winter Press Tour to talk about FOX's hits - and misses - this season as well as tout their status as television's most-watched network among adults 18-34 and teens.

"I think the show was slow to find itself and I think too little, too late," Reilly said about "Running Wilde," which he would later confirm - along with "The Good Guys" - won't be returning. "I think it did find itself... I think the show was struggling to find its legs. It was funny stuff but probably too little, too late."

As for the two-and-done "Lone Star," there's a slim chance the remaining episodes will be burned off this summer. "We're looking for a place," Reilly said. "They may very well play but at that point in time [it's a] show that had a tremendous amount of marketing... and didn't pull a whole lot of viewers. I don't really know what it's going to when we throw it on somewhere else. But it may very well come back."

The hot topic however proved to be FOX's stable of bubble shows, including "Lie to Me," "Fringe" and "Human Target."

When asked if it's an either-or scenario when it comes to "Lie to Me" and upcoming time period replacement "The Chicago Code," Reilly affirmed that both shows could come back. "It was really a needs thing... We brought it off the bench when we stumbled with 'Lone Star,' it came in cold and delivered that audience so what we're going to is look, a lot of midseason shows are rolling out now. We've just got to get a little deeper into spring [before any decisions can be made]."

The executive had similar sentiments about "Human Target," which wraps its sophomore run next month. "There's plenty of shows that are rejected outright in this day and age," he said. "We happen to have a handful of shows right now that are good shows that do perform to a certain level [but] they're not breaking through the next level. We program 15 hours, we need a next generation of hits. All of those shows are not going to be able to come back, unfortunately, because they perform at a certain level."

As for the Friday-bound "Fringe," Reilly said not to write the show's eulogy prematurely. "It's a show we're very passionate about. Fridays has been a troubled night... we are continually looking for the solution to the night... If we just literally transfer the rating we have, you know, even in that ballpark for Friday we have significantly upgraded our Friday night in terms of numbers and quality."

The duo were also quick to address various reports about the financial concerns surrounding the upcoming "Terra Nova." "They're actually haven't been any cost overruns on 'Terra Nova,'" Rice said. "It's on budget. It's a very expensive television show. It is a very ambitious television show. I give props to 20th Century Fox for taking that on."

Reilly added that, "If you broke it down just as a pilot it actually wouldn't be [any more] expensive than any of the high end pilots. The start up costs for the series are definitely on the high end but I think it's safe to say we're not in some completely uncharted territory."

Both likewise indicated the early commitments to "Nova" and Simon Cowell's "The X Factor" won't affect its development plans for next season. "We'll spend as much money on development this year as we did last year, maybe more," Rice said.

Among those plans are the horror series "Locke & Key," based on the comic book of the same name. "It's a unique piece of material and we like the idea of doing something scary," Reilly said, adding that they've only committed to a pilot thus far. "Originally we had it on a summer track... we just simply couldn't make the dates and were going to [have to] rush it creatively. So we've got it in the hopper now for May [when decisions about next season are made]."

Additionally, Reilly said that the network hasn't abandoned doing traditional sitcoms. "I think the first pilot we'll order on the comedy side will be a multi-camera show this year." One type of show you won't see however is a "Glee" knockoff, such as those in the works at the competition. "[They'll] just make 'Glee' look that much better," he quipped.

  [january 2011]  


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