FOX’s President of Entertainment, Kevin Reilly, got the network portion of the Television Critics Association summer tour to a positive start. The TV executive has every right to be positive as FOX has had ratings hits with shows like “American Idol” and “The X-Factor.” The network failed to make any waves in the drama category of the recent Emmy nominations. He wouldn’t say which new shows had the potential to change that next year but expects FOX to see more success with its dramas.
During his announcement that Mariah Carey would become a judge on “American Idol,” Reilly called the singer and put her on speaker. Carey said, “I am so excited to be doing ‘Idol.’ First of all, I wanted to be there today, and I wish I could have been there myself to tell you, but I think you know the show just sort of just happened quickly. So I can’t wait to get started in a couple months, and everybody have a great TCA, and I will see you in January.”
Here are a few other highlights from Reilly’s meeting with the TV critics:
On the upcoming season of “Glee”: “Now that I’ve read the first three scripts, I am very happy with how seamless it is. There’s going to be thematic links between the two. Although we have not severed relationships with anyone, obviously we’re not going to be servicing that large a tapestry of characters. We are adding some characters in New York. We’ve cast two guys already, one in New York, one in Ohio. We have fresh faces joining Ohio, so this is sort of the natural, almost a mirror of real life that people graduate and new faces come in. But I think also like real life, this is set in a small town in Ohio with very important and close relationships. Just as in real life, people tend to not stray too far away from that. Some people settle down in their hometowns. Some people go away, but they come back for holidays. They come back for reunions. And because we have a very good relationship with all the actors, some of whom have very vibrant careers now on the outside, the idea is to kind of keep that relationship where it can be fluid and for the audience in terms of who is going to show up when.”
On giving “Fringe” one final season: “I don’t like to just pull the plug on any show, because many of our failed shows, most of them have many, many millions of fans. But ‘Fringe’ has a particular fan base. We have a checkered history with genre at best because we’re one of the only networks that has consistently tried genre. Genre is hard. It’s been a really contemporary show for which most of the fans are there, but they’re there on their DVRs. I’m hoping this puts to bed the ‘ghost of Comic Con’ sentiment, if you will, which is, ‘Damn you, FOX. You put these shows on and then break our hearts.’ I think, at least hopefully, we’ve got a little bit of cred for seeing one through that really deserved it.”
On the affect of DVRs on ratings: “All of the top shows tend to shift in proportion. So what you’re seeing right now is the penetration of DVRs particularly, and the demo has now gotten around 50% and you’re watching people learn how to use them, and that’s the way they like to watch television. So we’re not fighting that.”
On Britney Spears joining “The X Factor”: “I think they’re going to be surprised at just how feisty she is. 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, and she definitely lays it on the line.”