Fox’s Abolishment Of Pilot Season: Practical Guide To How Will It Work

By | Monday January 13, 2014 @ 8:06pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Fox is switching to the cable development model. That is the takeaway from today’s announcement by Fox Chairman Kevin Reilly that the network will be bypassing pilot season this year and going forward. I sat down with Reilly to discuss how the changes will be implemented and what it means for writers, actors and agents.

Related: TCA: Kevin Reilly Declares Fox Is Abandoning Pilot Season

First, “we are abandoning pilot season, not pilots,” Reilly stressed. “Pilots still are a helpful tool, especially on the comedy side where the alchemy is fragile, and you really Kevin Reilly 1need the casting to inform your decision on the project.” But going forward, “we will be ordering pilots geared towards series,” he said. That means picking up fewer pilots, which is the cable model. “Instead of making 10 pilots hoping to get one series on the air, I’d like to make it more 1-to-1 ratio,” Reilly said. That means fewer pilot roles for actors but a better chance for those who get pilots to get on the air. The switch also means likely buying fewer scripts, Reilly said.

Related: Kevin Reilly Stands Up For Broadcast Vs. Cable, Defends New Comedy ‘Dads’, Reflects On Mike Darnell’s Departure

This will be a transitional year as Fox has a stockpile of scripts, some of them with big commitments. “There will be a few more drama pilots ordered in the next month or so, with another half dozen pushed forward for the next cycle with further investment,” Reilly said. That involves a pilot order plus backup scripts and/or funds for a writing staff, or, in some cases, just extra scripts and a bible for a straight-to-series consideration. On the comedy side, “we’ll have a leaner slate, we will order a few more pilots.” There is no mandate for any of those fox-tv-logo__130727010919-275x119to be ready in May for fall consideration, though, if magic strikes and a pilot comes quickly and knocks it out of the park, it could make it on the 2014-15 schedule. Expected to be on the schedule are Fox’s current pilots, drama Gotham and comedies Fatrick and Cabot College (Matt Hubbard), with Reilly expected to formalize their series orders next month. With those three, plus comedy series Mulaney and drama series Hieroglyph and Ben Affleck’s The Middle Man, there will be no much shelf space for new series anyway, especially as Reilly said he wanted to bring back most of the network’s current series and only has 15 hours of primetime versus 22 for the other major nets.

Related: 2014 Fox Pilots
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TCA: Fox’s Kevin Reilly Declares His Network Is Abandoning Pilot Season

By | Monday January 13, 2014 @ 11:22am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Fox chairman Kevin Reilly opened his executive session with a R.I.P. sign “Fox  Pilot Season 1986-2013″ and stated that the network will not adhere to the traditional pilot season starting this year. “We are going to be bypassing pilot season,” he said, later referring to the old … Read More »

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Fox Pushes Diversity As Business Model At Invite-Only Confab

By | Thursday October 24, 2013 @ 7:57pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Execs at the home of Sleepy Hollow, Glee and The Mindy Project had a message today for showrunners and agents: Diversity is the new ka-ching. “Not only are you going to have more … Read More »

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Fox Hires Simon Andreae To Replace Mike Darnell As Reality TV Chief

By | Tuesday October 22, 2013 @ 9:59am PDT

Simon Andreae, the former Channel 4 exec in the UK and former Discovery Channel exec in Los Angeles, is a guy best known for programs that mulled why the RMS Titanic sank and whether God created the universe, but also the first televised human autopsy, first televised exorcism and, of course, the series Naked And Afraid. He is replacing the Fox exec crowned Point Man For Perversity by The New York Times, Mike Darnell.

Related: Mike Darnell Moving To Warner Bros TV

In August, Andreae announced that after an eight-year stint in the U.S., he’d launched Scarlet Media and would be returning to the UK with a contract with Sony Pictures TV, reporting to SPT exec Andrea Wong, who used to head reality TV at ABC. Based in London, Andreae would develop factual and factual entertainment formats and specials for British TV and international markets.

While for public consumption Andreae is replacing Darnell, the job is smaller than it was under Darnell — and pays less, which eliminated a few of the candidates who’d been in talks, sources report. Andreae will oversee development; Fox veteran David Hill will hang on to the network’s current reality franchises American Idol and The X Factor. That’s maybe just as well for Andreae given that the two singing competitions had become something of a high-class headache for Darnell, what with Idol’s numbers still good but tumbling, and X Factor‘s promised gimongus crowd continuing to not show up for a third season despite yet another judge-panel makeover. Read More »

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Fox’s Shrinking Animation Domination: Midseason Series ‘Murder Police’ Scrapped

By | Tuesday October 8, 2013 @ 3:05pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Fox has nixed midseason animated comedy series Murder Police. I hear the decision was made by Fox Entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly after reading scripts and watching footage of upcoming episodes. Because of the nature of animation production, there is work done on various episodes at the same time though I hear there is no completed episode yet. (The series order was made off a presentation.) I hear producer 20th Century Fox TV is planning to continue fulfilling the 13-episode order and shop the series elsewhere.

There has been only one addition to Fox’s “Animation Domination” Sunday block that has stuck since Reilly joined the network in 2007 — cult (and Fox brass) favorite Bob’s Burgers, which was recently renewed for a fifth season. Murder Police was Fox’s first animated series order in more than two years — since the 2010 pickups of Jonah Hill’s Allen Gregory and Napoleon Dynamite, which only aired for 7 and 6 episodes, respectively. With the stealth cancellation of The Cleveland Show, upcoming move of American Dad! to TBS and demise of Murder Police, there will be only three returning shows next season in Fox’s Sunday animated block that runs for as many as three hours when there is no football. Because of the long production cycle on an animated series, it is almost impossible to have a new animated comedy series ready for next fall unless the network transplants one of the projects from its ADHD Saturday late-night block. Read More »

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TCA: Kevin Reilly Stands Up For Broadcast Vs. Cable, Defends New Comedy ‘Dads’, Reflects On Mike Darnell’s Departure

By | Thursday August 1, 2013 @ 2:09pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Fox‘s entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly opened the network’s executive session with a slide presentation that mixed a passionate defense of the broadcast business and frustration with how success has been portrayed on cable vs. broadcast. He started off with the “good news”, that “TV consumption is up” before talking about the increasing portion of the audience who watch shows on demand and online, sometimes up to a third of a show’s viewership, that remains uncounted for. Ditto for the increasing share of viewers who watch an episode of a show beyond the three days after the premiere that the advertisers pay for. There is even a lot of “activity outside the 30-day window,” Reilly said. “We need to find a way to monetize the rest of the window.”

Related: TCA: Cory Monteith Tribute Will Address Drug Addiction, Show Eyes End

Reilly also vented about the lower standards used to proclaim a cable series a hit vs. those on broadcast, noting that with its 2.2 18-49 rating, freshman The Mindy Project has been qualified as a modest or middling performer while it ranks higher than most of the heavily buzzed about cable series. “Of the 1,050 original series on cable last season, only four would’ve made it into the top 50 shows on television,” he said. Continuing a theme started by NBC’s  topper Bob Greenblatt who called broadcast “the bastard child of television,” a statement that was shot down by CBS’ Les Moonves, Reilly said, “I don’t think we are the bastard or step child. I don’t think the broadcast system is broken or antiquated.” Reilly primarily took on cable because of Netflix’s refusal to report viewership, or as Reilly put it “the unreported mystery audience of Netflix.” He displayed his trademark candor by noting that “I respect most of my competitors, most of them.”

Related: TCA: Urban To Return To ‘Idol’, Lopez In Talks, Jackson “Will Be Back In Some Capacity”

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TCA: Fox To Adapt ‘Broadchurch’ Months After Original Airs On BBC America

By | Thursday August 1, 2013 @ 8:56am PDT

Fox will adapt the hit British whodunnit Broadchurch as one of those “event series” it’s touting. Yes, it’s the same Broadchurch that BBC America is going to debut August 7. Fox’s version won’t start filming until January, and won’t air until the 2014-15 TV season. On the bright side, Fox’s version of the UK’s most-watched new drama of the year will be exec produced by the original series’ creator, Chris Chibnall. As described a few days ago at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013 by BBC America, Broadchurch is about the mysterious death of a small-town boy found dead on the beach. The picturesque seaside town is at the heart of a major police investigation and the murder investigation sets off a nationwide media frenzy.

Related: TCA: BBC America’s ‘Broadchurch’ Will Have A Satisfying Conclusion Says Star Read More »

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Live-Blog: Fox’s Upfront Presentation

By | Monday May 13, 2013 @ 1:56pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Fox decided to shake things up in its upfront presentation today. After talking about the increasing portion of viewing of Fox shows being time-shifted, Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly threw out the traditional night-by-night lineup presentation for the first time in favor of introducing the network’s new shows by genre.

First off was comedy, which made for unfavorable comparisons to the comedic banter with which Reilly and head of sales Toby Byrne opened the presentation. Among the more serious exchanges, Byrne acknowledged that after eight seasons on top, “we slipped a bit,” with Reilly responding that “I’m confident we will be back at No. 1 next season.”

Related: Fox 2013-14 Schedule

Always high on star power, the network brought onstage the stars of all of its new comedies and actors from all returning ones to a big applause. After a shtick between New Girl‘s Max Greenfield — who found an opportunity to show off his biceps — and Reilly, Reilly screened trailers for the network’s five new comedy series, with Andy Samberg’s cop show Brooklyn Nine-Nine getting very big applause.

Related: Fox New Series First Looks: Video Read More »

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‘24’ Reboot Eyes May 2014 Launch, ‘Idol’ Return To Three Judges & More Fox News

By | Monday May 13, 2013 @ 7:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The new 12-episode 24 event series, titled 24: Live Another Day, will likely launch in early May 2014 running into the summer, Fox‘s entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly said during an upfront conference call this morning. The original idea to continue 24 was as a feature, which died after 24 showrunner Howard Gordon and his team concluded that ”24 being compressed into two hours is not 24,” Reilly said. But after Fox announced its event series push six months ago, Gordon sparked to the idea of resurrecting 24 that way. The 12-hour version will keep the real-time nature of the original series, skipping some hours in the 24-hour period it covers. That would actually benefit the show, Reilly said, noting that 24 producers always felt that the spine of each season of 24 were 12 episodes containing major events, with the other 12 providing connective tissue. “Now we’ll get the best part,” Reilly said. While Fox envisions its limited series as stand-alone, one-time events, some, including 24, could become franchises with multiple installments though it is unlikely to have a new 24 every year.

Related: Fox 2013-14 Schedule Read More »

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Former ABC President Stephen McPherson Gets Producing Deal At Fox

By | Tuesday March 26, 2013 @ 6:03pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: After two and a half-years out of the Hollywood spotlight, former ABC president Stephen McPherson is eying a return as a producer with a deal at Fox Broadcasting Co. I hear the pact, which includes … Read More »

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Kevin Reilly On Fox’s Fall “Screwup”, NBC’s “Cheesy” ‘Voice’ Stunt, Violence, Keeping Britney Spears, Passing On ‘Walking Dead’

By | Tuesday January 8, 2013 @ 1:18pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

No “heads in assess” onstage references this time, but Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly still kept things entertaining during today’s network executive session at TCA with quick jabs and quips, some aimed at himself. The best one came in reaction to a critic apologizing for screwing up a question. “We all screw up — look at my fall,” Reilly said to loud laughter. He opened the session with a reference to the network’s pretty disastrous ratings performance this past fall: “Here at Fox we are leaping into the new year, no one is happier than us to turn the page.” Read More »

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Fox’s Kevin Reilly Admits Many TV Execs “Have Our Head Up Our Asses,” Says He Wishes ‘The Voice’ “Never Happened”

By | Wednesday November 28, 2012 @ 1:50pm PST

“A lot of us have our head up our asses,” Fox’s Kevin Reilly said today about TV executives during the Hollywood Radio & Television Society’s “The State of Broadcast” luncheon. The Fox Entertainment chairman also admitted during the panel discussion featuring Chernin Entertainment TV president Katherine Pope, UTA founding partner Peter Benedek and attorney Ken Ziffren of Ziffren Brittenham that he wished NBC’s The Voice “never happened”. “I don’t particularly like the show”, he said of the rival to his network’s American Idol. “I think Idol will have a long and graceful descent into maturity. It would have had a longer one if that show hadn’t came along. We’re not the only game in town now.”

Reilly, who can be unfiltered and entertaining at such events, dominated the session at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. The “head up our asses” comment came during a discussion about the effects of new services and platforms on the industry. “We’re looking too myopically at the business,” he said, adding that networks “are too obsessed with our competition with each other and not the consumer.” He agreed with the other panelists that there are “radical shifts in consumer behavior and how they are watching,” adding that “on any given night we’re speaking to only 30% of the audience.” Reilly hinted that as a result things might be different at this year’s upfronts. “I’ve been talking about year-round development,” he said. “It’s not blowing up the business. It’s trying to institutionalize what we can do better.” Read More »

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Fox’s Kevin Reilly Upped To Chairman of Entertainment

By | Monday August 20, 2012 @ 11:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: Following the recent promotion of Peter Rice to Chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly has been elevated to the post once occupied by Rice — Chairman of Entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Co. As part of the promotion, Reilly has signed a new, multi-year contract with the network, believed to be for three years. In addition to all programming — including reality/alternative — and digital, Reilly also will oversee scheduling, marketing, research, and business affairs, areas that for the most part had reported to Rice. “Kevin is a uniquely gifted executive with the strong strategic vision and creative instincts to ensure that Fox continues to drive the future of our industry,” said Rice. “We are incredibly fortunate to have him here and thrilled he will be with us for many more years.” The title bump solidifies Reilly’s new position as the top executive at Fox. As entertainment president, he worked under Peter Liguori from 2007-09 and then Rice who both served as Fox Entertainment chairmen. (Rice’s duties were expanded in 2010 when he was upped to Chairman of Entertainment for Fox Networks Group, overseeing both Fox and FX.) Read More »

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Kevin Reilly At TCA: Fox May Lose Ratings Crown Next Season, Will Have Drama Emmy Contenders In 2013 & More

By | Monday July 23, 2012 @ 2:01pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

TCA 2012 FoxWhile most of the attention during Fox‘s TCA executive session was on American Idol and newly announced judge Mariah Carey, the network’s entertainment president Kevin Reilly was able to touch upon a few … Read More »

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Fox Upfront Presentation: Live Blog

By | Monday May 14, 2012 @ 1:29pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Fox Upfronts 2012Like NBC’s presentation earlier today, Fox‘s presentation too opened with a comedy video featuring cast members from several shows. The setup was the quartet from Fox’s freshman comedy New Girl interviewing candidates for a new roommate. Glee‘s Will Schuester, Fringe‘s Walter Bishop, Bones‘ Temperance Brennan (played by New Girl star Zooey Deschanel’s sister Emily), the kid from Touch and Rubber Man from American Horror Story on sister network FX were among the characters who interviewed for the gig, along with Randy Jackson of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance‘s Mary Murphy.

Related: Fox’s Fall Schedule: All-Comedy Tuesday, ‘Glee’ Moves To Thursday, ‘Touch’ To Friday

After Glee‘s Jane Lynch emceed the presentation for the past two years, ubiquitous American Idol host Ryan Seacrest took over the role this year, presenting Fox’s executives in the style of the reality series. Like a pro, he phoned in such lines as describing British-born Fox chairman Peter Rice as “as American as American Pie, Justin Bieber and soccer,” blending America’s favorite dessert with Canadian pop export Bieber and the world’s most popular sport that everyone outside the U.S. calls football. Seacrest also claimed that “After a nationwide vote, the biggest star at Fox is… Kevin Reilly.”

Reilly started the rollout of next season’s slate with Tuesday night, which features four comedies. “Since the first day I walked into Fox, this is the kind of comedy lineup I’ve wanted present to you,” Reilly said of Raising Hope, New Girl and newbies Ben & Kate and The Mindy Project. Fox has a third new comedy, Goodwin Games, on tap for midseason.

Related: FOX First Look Teasers: 2012-13 New Shows Read More »

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David Wertheimer Appointed President Of Digital At Fox

By | Tuesday October 25, 2011 @ 10:00am PDT

Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX) has appointed David Wertheimer President, Digital, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, FOX President of Entertainment. In this newly created role, Wertheimer will report to Reilly and will be responsible for the network’s strategy, operations and ventures in digital entertainment and emerging media platforms, including online viewing, websites, apps, games, digital network incubation and audience engagement through social networks.

One of the media industry’s leading experts on digital entertainment, digital distribution and audience engagement, Wertheimer’s hire underscores FOX’s commitment to creating and maximizing value for the company’s product in the digital marketplace. As President, Digital, for the broadcast network, Wertheimer will interface with Fox Networks Group and News Corp. leaders in building new digital platforms and sharing best practices.

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HRTS: Broadcast Network Chiefs Reflect On ‘Crazy’ Pitch Season

Nellie Andreeva

We are at the tail end of a TV selling season that saw more bidding wars and production and put pilot commitments than I can remember, and that isn’t lost on the broadcast entertainment presidents. Survivor‘s Jeff Probst opened the discussion at the annual Hollywood Radio & Television Society network chiefs luncheon today by sharing that during his lunch with the executives before they took the stage, everyone was complaining about how crazy and out of whack this pitch season has been. Fox’s Kevin Reilly, who spoke his mind more than anyone else on the panel, quickly jumped in. “(NBC) got cash, (ABC) got competitive against that cash, and we took the bait,” is how Reilly summed up this year’s marketplace. “We all think we were played a little bit. Agents are doing very well this year as a result.” Reilly’s counterparts mostly agreed, though their responses were more measured. “It’s been very, very frantic this year,” CBS’ Nina Tassler said. She blamed media coverage for the increased intensity of the pitch season. “Every single thing that happens is now being reported, from a pitch to speculation on the terms of a deal, and that does absolutely impact the business.” Added NBC’s Jennifer Salke: “I get the email about a media inquiry while the producer is still in the parking lot. That adds to the frenzy.” But it wasn’t all bad this buying season, ABC’s Paul Lee said. “There was also a rush of new energy, with a lot of new people and new ideas; there was lot of ambition in the projects coming in,” he said. Read More »

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MIPCOM: Fox TV Boss Kevin Reilly Says Social Media Key To Driving Through Clutter

By | Tuesday October 4, 2011 @ 7:37am PDT

Kevin Reilly, entertainment president of Fox Broadcasting Company, says that building awareness of new shows online before they premiere has become its new mantra. Reilly, giving the keynote this afternoon in Cannes, highlighted the new comedy New Girl as an example of how Fox uses social networks to build awareness. The network pre-released an episode on iTunes and VOD before it even aired the pilot, and got 2 million downloads. Fox has given New Girl an early back-nine pickup after two highly rated airings, bringing the order for the Zooey Deschanel comedy to 24 episodes. Reilly said that Fox really started exploiting social media with Glee. The show was streamed on Hulu before its TV premiere, and songs were pre-released on iTunes to keep social media chatter going. Reilly said: “The series premiered as a bona fide hit, which I am certain would not have been the case had we marketed it in a more traditional way.” Here’s the full transcript of Reilly’s speech:

“No One Knows Anything.” I’m sure you know this famous quote about Hollywood from the great screenwriter William Goldman.

A common interpretation is that all Hollywood executives are idiots. Granted, I’ve known quite a few who have personally contributed to that interpretation — but it’s not why it continues to ring true.

What it really speaks to is an underlying truth about creativity itself.

And it takes on new meaning in this time of massive, unnerving shifts in the marketplace. Having worked the better part of my 25 year career as a creative executive in our business, there are many days when I know very little. But I remain enamored with creative people and energized by magical moments of inspiration.

I’ve spent a lot of time encouraging, corralling, protecting and sparring with creative people. And I head up a television network– an organization that strives to nurture talent through a process in which their original ideas become a mass appeal product. Unfortunately, through this process, executives often become part of the problem in their attempts to help.

The challenge is that agendas rarely line up.

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‘Pan Am’ Takes Flight In France As TV Bigwigs Descend On Cannes For MIPCOM

Nellie Andreeva

Thousands of TV executives from around the world are en route to Cannes for the annual MIPCOM market, which starts on Monday. The great majority of them, who are flying into the nearby Nice airport, were greeted by a group of Pan Am stewardesses — a promotion for the new … Read More »

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