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Reilly At TCA: “Best Shows Not On Cable”

Nellie Andreeva

The last time Fox’s Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly appeared at the TV Critics’ Assn. press tour in the summer, the drama surrounding the search for new American Idol judges had hit fever pitch, galvanizing the Fox executive session. With no swirling controversy this time around, the Rice-Reilly panel was mostly introspective, with the two asked to reminisce on Fox’s troubled fall, marked by the quick cancellation of Lone Star and the underwhelming run of Running Wilde.

Neither Rice nor Reilly tried to spin the fact that Lone Star was a big failure, one that “changed the complexion of our fall,” as Reilly put it. But neither had regrets about picking up the show, which received great reviews but was rejected by the audience. “I’d much prefer to fail with a show we are proud of than with one we are embarrassed by or don’t believe in,” said Rice. Reilly, who worked at FX before taking over entertainment at NBC and now Fox, addressed the conversation at Fox the morning after Lone Star‘s dismal premiere. “One discussion we never had the next day was: we’re never going to do that again; there was no Monday morning quarterbacking,” adding ‘I don’t think for a second that the best shows are on cable.” Read More »

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Fox’s Kevin Reilly And Mike Darnell On ‘American Idol’ & ‘Fringe’ Moves; No Back Orders For ‘Running Wilde’ & ‘Good Guys’

Nellie Andreeva

Fox’ Midseason Schedule

“We have been looking at Thursday for a long time,” Fox’s reality chief Mike Darnell said. “It is a tough nut to crack, and if you want to crack it, you have to make a big move there.” Idol has been the biggest show on television for 8 years, so why make this move now? It was CBS’ surprising decision in May to take another reality juggernaut, Survivor, off Thursdays that set the Idol shift idea in motion, Darnell said. With Idol itself going through a major transition with new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler and without Simon Cowell, Fox brass decided to wait and see how the show’s production was going and, happy with what they’d seen so far, they pulled the trigger on the scheduling change. “It felt like the right time to make the move,” Darnell said. “Now we can own Thursday.”

Seeing the door opening at 8 PM on Thursday with Survivor gone was a major but not the only factor for the Idol move, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said. “At the same time, we’re looking at what’s going on on Tuesday where we are winning the night with Glee, which, after airing after the Super Bowl, will probably end the season as the highest-rated scripted series.” Glee was originally slated to … Read More »

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HRTS Network Chiefs Lunch: A Star Is Born

Nellie Andreeva

ABC’s new chief Paul Lee charmed a room full of industry types at the Hollywood Radio and TV Society’s network chiefs luncheon today, which was otherwise pretty uneventful. Three months into the job, he looked confident and relaxed, stretching his legs for most of the time, interjecting with witty zingers and cracking jokes throughout the panel discussion moderated by HRTS and Lionsgate TV president Kevin Beggs. ”We used to strike when they moved the tea break at the BBC,” Brit Lee quipped when the subject of a potential new WGA strike came up. In terms of ABC programming, Lee didn’t deny the rumor that he might be looking to revive TGIF on ABC. (He recently did a trial run with a younger-skewing family comedy at ABC Family, Melissa & Joey). “I certainly think that Friday night is a huge opportunity,” Lee said. He also alluded that ABC may test some of its marketing campaigns on Facebook before forking out millions to roll them out.

Also pretty entertaining was Fox’s Kevin Reilly, who was asked about the challenges of doing a series for broadcast vs. cable where FCC regulations don’t apply. “It is frustrating sometimes,” he said. “On cable, we would’ve been able to have the guys on Lone Star take off their clothes, the show would’ve pulled 1.3 million viewers and we would’ve declared it a hit because that’s what Mad Read More »

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