One of my favorite network executives is FOX’s Chairman of Entertainment, Kevin Reilly. He’s one of the few TV bosses who doesn’t treat what he’s doing like it’s curing cancer. He so fully understands that it’s all about entertainment that he’s even willing to poke fun at himself. After he tells TV Critics that everyone makes mistakes he adds “Just look at my fall schedule.”
He’s right. The FOX fall schedule was pretty lame. But, things are looking up for 2013 with the next edition of “American Idol” and the launch of one of the best new network TV shows to come along since “24” in “The Following.”
Here are a few of Reilly’s updates from the FOX session at the TV Critics Association winter tour.
A skeleton crew: The network has ordered a ninth season of the procedural drama “Bones.”
On the quality of network TV: Reilly says there’s a reason a film actor like Kevin Bacon comes to television to star in a show like “The Following” and its the “great work being done pound-for-pound on television.” Reilly adds, “The challenge in this day and age is, we are competing with television. And what I mean by that is we’ve always competed against the other broadcast networks. Every day we measure it. I like being first. But in the grand scheme of things, with TV right now, there are so many access points, so many different availabilities — the over the top services and the watching of our own product outside of the measurable window and the DVR stack and the binge viewing.”
Future fodder: Efforts to make a new version of “In Living Color” has been shelved. Reilly says the pilot episode that was shot just didn’t measure up to the standards of the original comedy series. The launch of another comedy series, “The Goodwin Games,” has been delayed. Reilly says that the comedy block the network has with “Ben and Kate,” “Raising Hope,” “The Mindy Project” and “The New Girl” has not been a resounding hit and a change right now would make matters worse.
A flying leap: Asked about whether the scheduling of a FOX special about celebrity diving was a way to kill interest in an upcoming reality series ABC will launch. Reilly would only say “It’s all fair.”
On the “Fringes”: The end of “Fringe” doesn’t mean an end to FOX looking at genre type programs for the network. He explains that “We’ve had some bad fall starts and broken some hearts. It was great to finally see one through and finish it in a great way for the fans and to not leave them hanging. But we’ve never left that business, and we always look for it. And, we set the standard many years ago with ‘The X Files.’”