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.”