LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- "I am so excited to be part of 'Idol,'" Mariah Carey told FOX Entertainment President Kevin Reilly via speakerphone during the network's executive session at the TCA Summer Press Tour. "I can't wait to get started in a couple of months." Said announcement - full details of which you can read here - comes as FOX works to lock in the talent for its annual tentpole.
Earlier this month, Steven Tyler confirmed he won't return for season 12 while Jennifer Lopez likewise won't be back. "I think I can say it's 100% that Jennifer won't be back with the show," Reilly confirmed about the latter development. As for Randy Jackson, Reilly credited him as being "very instrumental in doing this deal" with Carey, whom he serves as co-manager, but wouldn't comment on his status with "Idol."
Other hot topics on the programming front:
-- "Bob Greenblatt made what I think was a smart business decision on his part," Reilly said about the Universal Television-produced "The Mindy Project," which was targeted for NBC but ultimately landed at FOX. "There was no sort of controversy about it. Bob was very straightforward about his desire to supply the town. For whatever reason NBC decided this didn't fit their bill."
-- "We really have a core of some of the returning characters and some of the new ones that we'll be servicing every week," Reilly noted about the new season of "Glee," which he's read the first three scripts. "And then limited deals with some of the other actors who will be kind of joining here and there throughout the season. But I think it will make for a fun surprise and some fun episodes." He would later clarify that, "some episodes may take place half [in New York] and half [in Ohio]. The one's we've read so far do cut back and forth. They have thematic linkage between the two. And because you're following characters we already know in New York, it's not like it's completely confusing."
-- "It's going to be a competitive year," Reilly says about his top competitor CBS. "They've got the Super Bowl this year, they've got the AFC playoff game. I think it's going to be a very close year. In fact, we may not win this season this year. We've had a record eight years in a row, but I can tell you at the very least it's going to be close."
-- "We have a checkered history with the genre at best, because we're one of the only networks that consistently tries genre," Reilly said about the final season of "Fringe." "Genre's hard. The 'Fringe' producers have delivered a fantastic show that we are passionate about." Adding, "I'm hoping this puts to bed some of our sort of ghosts of Comic-Con if you will, which is, 'Damn you FOX! You put these shows on and break our hearts!' I think at least hopefully we've gotten a little bit of cred for seeing one through that really deserved it."
"Repeats do not have a lot value on the air anymore, less value than ever," Reilly noted about their summer schedule. "You're seeing that we've trained the audience that consuming them online is a better experience because most people only want to catch up [by watching] multiple episodes. We are encouraging that... With that said, our business can't be year-round originals. We're trying to get as close to it as we can at FOX."
-- "I think they're going to be surprised just how feisty she is," Reilly responded when asked about what he's seen from Britney Spears thus far on "The X Factor." "She is not afraid to lay it on the line, she's tough. She knows what she's doing, she's been around, she's seen it all." As for a new host or hosts, he indicated "we're pretty close, it could happen next week, it could happen in two weeks." Adding, "I really can't say for sure [about two hosts], I think that's going to be about who [Simon Cowell] finally selects."
-- "'Cosmos' is going to be a long development cycle, I don't know when it's going to be on." the executive said about the Seth MacFarlane-produced project. "We're not expecting 'Cosmos' to be our highest rated show but it's going to be a really interesting piece of intellectual property, something we're going to be proud of and we're going to exploit it in a lot of different ways across our networks, starting with FOX."