Fox’s Fringe (0.9/3) was rusty in its return from hiatus, down 25% from its winter finale a month ago. It was hindered by a weak lead-in, Kitchen Nightmares (1.0/4), which was inexplicably low for an original, tied with NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? at 8 PM. Fringe also faced atypical competition, CBS’ NCAA basketball coverage, which is expected to win the night. Or maybe Fringe fans didn’t get the memo that their show was back or were out helping make Hunger Games a rare March blockbuster. Fringe‘s time slot rival, the CW’s Supernatural (0.6/2) also hit a low, while Nikita (0.5/2) was up a tenth. ABC’s Shark Tank (1.5/5) was down 12%, but both of the network’s newsmagazines were up, leading ABC to a five-week Friday high in 18-49.
With Fox‘s Fringe once again facing cancellation, the show’s stars Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Blair Brown and Seth Gabel and executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman are rallying fans of the sci-fi drama today with a session at WonderCon. Talks between the network and Fringe producer Warner …
TCA: Fox’s Kevin Reilly Talks About Future Of ‘House’ & ‘Breaking In ‘ & ‘Glee’ Spat; Calls ‘Touch’ Pilot ‘Extraordinary’
Not that there was ever any doubt that Tim Kring’s Fox pilot Touch starring Kiefer Sutherland would get on the air, but the network wanted to reserve final judgement until after it sees the finished pilot. Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly told reporters at TCA today that he saw the pilot last night and it was “extraordinary”, firmly sealing the project’s midseason series pickup. “It’s a new character but it does have some dose of Jack Bauer in it,” Reilly said about Sutherland’s new role.
While Touch will be joining Fox’s schedule this season, veteran medical drama House might exit it. “I can’t confirm that this is the last season of House,” Reilly said during the Q&A session, adding that a decision on that will be made in “late fall.” The contract of star Hugh Laurie is up after the end of this season, and creator/executive producer David Shore had indicated that he signed a new deal for the upcoming eighth season because he wanted to give the show a proper ending. Reilly alluded to that, noting that the original creative team of the show “that has kept the quality strong” has remained intact and “they want to go out strong, not limp on for several more seasons as a vestige of itself.” Reilly also hinted that there is a scenario where House end its run on Fox this seaosn but producer Universal Media Studios tried to continue it on another network.
There is also no decision on the future of Fox’s other veteran drama, Bones, but Reilly sounded far more upbeat about its future. As for cult favorite, Fringe, “I don’t expect Fringe to grow, but if it does exactly what it did last year, we will be very, very happy,” Reilly said. The fate of another fan favorite, comedy Breaking In, remains up in the air after the network canceled the series starring Christian Slater after a short midseason run but then shouldered the cost of extending the options on the cast with studio Sony TV. Today, Reilly said that Breaking In will be a contender for Fox’s 2-hour midseason comedy block along with series Raising Hope, I Hate My Teenage Daughter and New Girl and pilots Little In Common and Family Album. “We will revisit what makes that 2-hour block later in the fall and make a decision (on Breaking In)”, Reilly said.
This year’s Emmy race for Outstanding Drama Series will continue cable’s dominance in this most prestigious category. Cable claimed 10 of the 13 nomination spots over the past two years, and 13 of 19 since 2008. By contrast, cable earned a mere nine nods combined in the seven years between 2001 and 2007 when the networks still ruled. The shift from broadcast is so extreme in 2011 that CBS’ The Good Wife is considered the only network series with a solid shot to earn its second nomination in as many years. (Though not in that league, NBC/DirecTV’s Friday Night Lights, NBC’s Parenthood, and CBS’ Blue Bloods deserve consideration while ABC has entered a rebuilding phase.) The sad reality is that the broadcast networks, which just signed a new eight-year deal with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to carry the Emmys, are facing a possible first-ever shutout from the top drama series category. That’s because of the continuing strength and ambition of programming on cable — in particular, HBO in a return to form, and AMC still on a roll.
HBO’s Prohibition-era hourlong Boardwalk Empire drew the most critical attention this Emmy season because of its pedigreed producer team, headed by the legendary Martin Scorsese and creator/showrunner Terence Winter, a Sopranos alum. How interesting that the pay channel’s expensive serial will compete against another period drama from that other Sopranos alum Matt Weiner. AMC’s first acclaimed original series, Mad Men, has won this category three years running and is bidding this year to be the first series to win four in a row since NBC’s The West Wing (2000- 2003). Though the frontrunner, Mad Men could be hurt by a long hiatus.
AMC has seized the mantle from HBO as TV’s preeminent quality-drama purveyor with a pair of newcomers that could crack the series field this year: the zombie-themed hour The Walking Dead, and the dark murder mystery The Killing. Even though two-time category nominee Breaking Bad is not eligible for 2011, AMC could still land three nods, becoming the first network in 10 years to do so in this category, after NBC scored the hat trick in 2001 with The West Wing, ER, and Law & Order. No cable network has ever managed the feat to date.
And then there’s Showtime, whose Dexter is in the running for its fourth consecutive Outstanding Drama nomination, along with first-season Shameless. FX is pushing its increasingly buzzed-about Western, Justified and, to a lesser extent, Sons Of Anarchy. TNT wants attention for The Closer, Men Of A Certain Age, and Southland. USA is pressing Covert Affairs and White Collar. Here’s our assessment of the chances for this year’s drama series in alphabetical order:
Former Lost co-executive producer David Fury is joining the upcoming season of Fox’s Fringe as writer/consulting producer, reuniting with Lost creator/executive producer J.J. Abrams, who executive produces Fringe. In addition to his work on the first season of Lost, Fury is also known for his work on Buffy the Vampire …