Fox Boss on Finding the Next Fringe, the New Twin Peaks, Britney's X Future, Glee and More

Fringe Josh Jackson Anna TorvNever one to pull any punches, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly acknowledged Tuesday morning at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour in Pasadena that his network — which fell from first to third in the ratings this fall — “limped out of this year,” before adding, “but we’re turning the page.”

Moving on to the key takeaways from Fox’s exec session… 

* Reilly would like Britney Spears to return to The X Factor next season, although no decision has been made. “I think Britney did a really good job,” he said. “People remain fascinated with her and always will… Maybe people were waiting for more drastic displays that never came. But pound for pound, I thought The X Factor was excellent this year. She tucked in really nicely on that bench.”

* The In Living Color reboot is dead. “It just didn’t come together,” said Reilly.

* Though Fringe is coming to an end on Jan. 18, after years of waning ratings, Reilly isn’t ruling out another go at far-out fare. “Fox has never left the genre business,” he said. After giving shows such as Dollhouse and Firefly short shrift in the past, “It was great to finally see one through and finish it in a great way for fans, and not leave them hanging,” he said. “We set the standard many years ago with The X Files.”

* Reilly hailed the M. Night Shyamalan-produced event series Wayward Pines — in development for 2014 and revolving around a Secret Service agent who travels to an Idaho town to solve a mystery — as “excellent, the closest thing to Twin Peaks I’ve ever seen.” Described as a short-season offering with a beginning, middle and end, Pines and Blood Brothers (a period drama set at West Point circa 1861) will hopefully draw “movie stars and top-notch talent… who want to do television but are not going to sign up for five years,” Reilly ventured.

* The network’s underperforming Tuesday comedy block of Raising Hope, Ben and Kate, New Girl and The Mindy Project has been Reilly’s “biggest frustration” coming out of fall, but “I believe in those shows. We’re sticking with the block. I believe good work will eventually pay off.” As a result, midseason entry The Goodwin Games — which recently had its episode order cut back from 13 to 7 — may not air until summer. “If I thought Goodwin Games was going to be an injection of life to the [comedy block], I’d bring it on earlier,” he conceded. “Goodiwn Games is a nice show, but I’m not sure it’s going to improve the night ratings-wise.”

* Reilly is pleased with the “consistency” of Glee‘s fourth season. “The New York concept has worked very well,” he added. “Cutting back and forth has been seamless and both worlds have been dynamic. I [just] wish we were able to program it more consistently this fall.” As for the musical comedy’s fate, he said, “We’re going to negotiate now for the fifth season and beyond” — in part so that Oxygen can get the ball rolling on the next Glee Project.

* “The Mob Doctor, by the way, was the worst title in the history of the world,” Reilly noted in discussing Fox’s decision to not yank the underperforming freshman drama from the schedule but let it burn through all 13 episodes.

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  1. tvaddict says:

    So don’t expect many episodes of Goodwin Games……..

    • Josh says:

      Wow talk about DOA right? I don’t get it…They picked it up, what happened?

    • Eric says:

      I know! Since the show was first revealed as being in development, I’ve been incredibly excited to see it. Now, who knows if I’ll ever even get the chance? But, at least it sounds as though they’re going to give Ben & Kate a chance…for now.

  2. Alice says:

    How can you as a network president be happy with anything. XFactor underperformed, Tuesdays are a mess and Glee needs to be fixed.

    • soundscene says:

      Tuesdays may not be performing spectacularly ratings-wise, but it’s not a mess. It’s good television. He can be happy about that in the same way he is happy with Fringe (great TV, not-so-great ratings). The X Factor is… well it is what it is. It’s a relatively cheap show for the network and studio and they’re probably making money off of it despite it’s non-American Idol numbers. Glee is fine in the way Glee was fine every other season after season 1, in which it was actually good. It still does fine for the network so I doubt they’re going out of their way trying to “fix” it.
      Frankly, I would rather have this version of Fox than past versions which gave very short shrift to underperforming, yet good or great, television shows. I’ll take an X Factor and a judge-centric (read: crappy) American Idol if it means it gives leeway to the network to keep better fare on the air past the point where they would have previously pulled it.

      • Alan says:

        the x factor aint cheap, the money they threw at britney spears made that certain

        • soundscene says:

          Cheap is relative. Imagine having to pay for a larger cast (X Factor cast = 6, and I doubt the hosts are getting paid much) with multiple sets and location shooting stretching across a full 8-9 month season, special effects for most scripted hour-long shows, and a larger crew, including multiple directors and several writers… you get a higher production budget. Scripted hour-long shows often get cancelled not because they have the lowest ratings ever, but because they’re expensive to make and the ad revenue doesn’t make up for it. Britney’s salary is large, as is Simon’s, I’m sure. But X Factor deals primarily with one static set, performers who get paid pennies during the show’s run, minimal scriptwriting, and fewer weeks on the air per year. The ratings X Factor has is enough to make what it costs worth it.

          • Jason says:

            Plus it’s three hours of programming per week so they get more advertising dollars for those extra hours without a lot added to production cost.

    • Boiler says:

      Tuesdays are NOT a mess quality wise. They are all good shows. Try watching?

  3. Stacie says:

    Glee is one of the most inconsistent shows ever, in writing, in scheduling and in ratings. They went from over 10 million, to 8 million to 6 million now they are in the low 5 millions. The McKinley side has been a redo of past seasons with the 2.0 characters. They haven’t focused enough on the NY side to really have it be “dynamic”. It’s so painfully clear how these guys don’t really care about lying through their teeth. They need to drop McKinley and focus on a new chapter of Glee, the NY side with the originals and characters we car about. Until then, I doubt this show will be anything but inconsistent again.

    • Amy says:

      Dropping McKinley would be the best thing they could do. I’ve stopped watching episodes that don’t have significant NY storylines.

    • Prue says:

      I completely agree with you 100%. You can’t devote entire episodes to just one side. I really couldn’t care less what happens over at McKinley. All I care about is what happens on the NY side, but there were episodes where Kurt and Rachel don’t even appear. INCONSISTENT is the best word to describe this show.

    • VI says:

      Other than Marley at McKinley I also agree. I do like her voice.

    • YowzaPowza says:

      Agree. I finally stopped watching Glee this season. Had they followed the characters to NYC fully and dropped the high school I would continue. But every single thing about their high school stories have been done in the first three seasons.

    • AT says:

      I agree. I much prefer the NY storyline. The biggest problem is that they decided to make almost all of the characters the same age so they graduated at the same time. Had they gradually left and brought in new people each season, they likely could have continued the McKinley storyline with better interest.

  4. Molly says:

    So why’d they bother giving a series order to Goodwin Games at all? It sounds like Reilly didn’t like it from the beginning.

  5. Morgan says:

    Well that’s disappointing. I thought The Goodwin Games looked like one of the more interesting shows of the season.

  6. Jerry says:

    I have to disagree about the Goodwin Games. I don’t watch Fox at all on Tuesday right now, and my wife and I planned on tuning in for that. But whatever I guess!

  7. Sam says:

    As long as the people in charge are under the ridiculous misconception that anything about Glee this season is working it’s not going to get any better. Sigh.

  8. Taylor says:

    My family used to watch Fox a lot. We’ve gone from watching Glee, American Idol, X Factor and Fringe to now only keeping up with Fringe. I just think that for us, with the exception of Fringe, other networks have been offering fresher and more interresting programming. Hopefully Fox can pull it together again. I’m grateful they stuck with Fringe and will miss it.

  9. JoAnne says:

    I too am glad FOX stuck with ‘Fringe’ as long as they did.

    “After giving shows such as Dollhouse and Firefly short shrift in the past…” I would also like to add ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ to the list.

    • Emily says:

      Dollhouse did sort of get to wrap up. That’s more than Firefly ever got (on the small screen, anyway).

      • Mikael says:

        Dollhouse did get to wrap up, but just barely. You can actually pinpoint the moment they realized the show was canceled. The storyline just dropped and they ramped up the final plot so fast that it didn’t make much sense. I was a huge fan of the show, and I’m glad that it even got a season 2 at all, much less a chance to attempt to wrap up, but if they had gotten a full season’s notice like Fringe did, it could have been fleshed out better.

  10. Wow Wow Wow says:

    Glee? Consistency? Why were these words used together?

    • Mark says:

      It’s a lot more consistent than season 3! You’ve gotta admit that!

      • Coolio Jackson says:

        Yes, consistently bad. The new characters are as dull as dishwater and the remaining original cast members were second string for a reason. McKinley can’t carry a show without Rachel, Kurt, Santana, and Mercedes.

        • Liz says:

          Sadly I agree. My favorite episodes this year have been when the shows include season 1-3 cast. More story lines with them please. Too many characters to follow. You have a strong cast with the originals. Follow and build their characters. Hint – friends, sex and the city,… Finally the breaks between each episode is much to long. Creators reel it back in please. Still a huge fan. Love love glee this show healed our family on many levels and opened our hearts. Currently the show has list the depth it use to have

  11. mia says:

    They’re proud of Firefly and Dollhouse? They killed those shows before they had a chance; airing Firefly moronically and then interfering so heavily with Whedon’s vision for Dollhouse that all that remained was repetative and lacking depth.
    I hope that if fox continues with genre fare (and really, they’ve put out the best stuff in the last decade – they just kill it early) I hope they’ve learned some lessons.
    How they’ve handled Fringe needs to be how they handle new shows…excpet don’t jump nights as often

  12. I’m all for more Glee because, as bad as it can be, I can’t quit it. But please STOP with The Glee Project.

    • Coolio Jackson says:

      The Glee Project has yielded terrible results…Rory, Dreadlocks and Milk Toast have been disappointing Either drop Glee Project or reduce the number of episodes for the winner to just 2-4.

  13. Xe says:

    It feels like everyone associated with Glee is living in a bubble. They must be surrounded by a ton of homers if they think the show is still on the same level it once was. The ratings certainly paint a more accurate picture.

  14. ElsieM says:

    The Mob Doctor is a silly title, but the show was actually pretty good. Of their Tuesday night block, Raising Hope is such a good show. Funny and quirky. Glee… never saw it, never will. That goes for Smash too, but that’s a whole ‘nother network (I think).

  15. Boiler says:

    I still think they should dump X Factor and give Glee 90 minutes. That way both locations, which I enjoy, get more showtime. Maybe put Goodwin Games before it.

  16. Alan says:

    sure they are proud of their genre shows; thats why firefly got the promotion it deserved, the timeslot to build on that and aired in the right order leading to a ground breaking 10 year run which redefined the standards for episodic television which carries an ongoing storyline.
    please fox spare me your marketing crap

  17. dez says:

    glee should of finished at the end of season 3, all these new characters hmm just not the same

  18. omabin says:

    Wow talk about DOA! I won’t bother tuning in then… Shame because i was interested in it and i loved two of the leads

  19. Sandy says:

    How about just keeping Fringe!

    • Jason says:

      Everyone says the show picked up after the first season! When? I’m five episodes into season two and it’s still an X-Files clone.

      • ben says:

        @Jason – I’m just watching Fringe for the first time and am nearly at the end of Season Two. If the William Bell aspects don’t have you intrigued, it may never pick up for you, but where it truly picks up is about episode 14-15 (Jacksonville, Peter). In those episodes you can truly see the show has a distinct direction to travel.

      • Nerdbot says:

        The second half of season two is when the story starts getting better (and different from X-Files). If by then you still think it’s an X-File clone (with an alternate universe twist) it may not be your cup of tea after all.

  20. Jared says:

    Even with it’s decline, Glee is still the networks second most popular program in overall ratings. And I agree with Reilly in the fact that this season has been great creatively! Much more consistent than season three. It’s not going anywhere.

  21. All I care about is Raising Hope. Everything else? EH

  22. Jason says:

    You want the next Twin Peaks why not resurrect the series for a short miniseries! David Lynch would probably be interested in doing it. ‘d love to see Twin Peaks: The Next generation with the high schoolers from the original taking on the kooky older folks roles.

  23. Hannah says:

    I feel like I would enjoy Reilly as a person. I love his Mob Doctor comment. Too true, Too true.

    I think it’s fair for him to reference Firefly and Dollhouse. He doesn’t rule out sci-fi as a whole, but he’s a business man at the end of the day. He’ll make the cut if he has to.

    • Emily says:

      Good for Reilly. True words. In hindsight, I wonder if he regrets pulling Terra Nova in favor of Mob Doctor. Would relatively good ratings with high costs have beaten abysmal ratings with low(er?) costs, bottom-line-wise?

    • Ana says:

      Agree with the Mob Doctor comment. That title may have turned a lot of people away. I tuned in when I found out that Jennifer Beals would be guest starring and realized that I actually enjoyed the show. It was gritty and brilliantly acted but perhaps it would have been a better fit on cable where the dark world of mobsters could be better explored. BTW, I’m still upset about them pulling Chicago Code which was doing better than their current programming. That was excellent television…

    • Alienate says:

      I thought Reilly came across as an egotistic tool.

  24. Renee says:

    LMAO!!! HAHAHA!!! Fox deserves the ratings they have. They’ve EARNED them with the spectacular decisions they have made. (Still bitter about Terra Nova, Human Target, The Finder…)

  25. qj201 says:

    Raising Hope is BRILLIANT. Most under rated show.

  26. Ana says:

    Why can they just admit that moving Glee from Tuesdays to Thursdays was a horrible strategic decision and correct it? The Tuesday’s ‘comedy block’ gimmick is obviously not working as well as expected. As a matter of fact, it appears that their only sure thing, New Girl, has been negatively impacted by so much mediocrity before and after it. The Goodwin Games is the only comedy I was actually looking forward to and now it’s been cut down and pushed back? No me gusta…

  27. RD says:

    It says a lot if the president of entertainment thought X factor was good this season,(and that Britney did a good job).We are doomed to be fed more

    • Renee says:

      I think they are a lot like politicians. The odds they’re lying every time they open their mouths is extremely high.

  28. Britta Unfiltered says:

    “Consistency” and “Glee” are two words that do not belong in the same sentence.

  29. M says:

    Oh Reilly… Underestimating the audience is what got the Network in this position. The current programming, with a few exceptions, is a string of dissapointment. Glee is still profitable, but good? In what planet? It’s such a terrible series I don’t even have to give examples as to why it so completely blows. Also, the eyeballs it manages to get? Tweens! It lost the smart viewer, the critics recognition, its spark and any chance to ever be good. On the other hand, we have X Factor, which… Umm… Underperformed because of The Voice? It did because in spite of Spears, the show was still poorly constructed, unbalanced and predictable. That said, the fact that the faith of Factor seemed to have relied on the pop sensation says a lot. Why bother getting good hosts? we have Britney. Why produce better segments? Lets cut to Britney! Fox execs thought they had it in the bag, once again audience was underestimated, no one cared about the show. Blaming the voice is childish.

  30. Why would they want to find “the next Fringe” when they cancelled it due to poor ratings? That makes absolutely no sense to me. Once these major networks realize that viewing habits have changed and Nielsen ratings are a poor indication of a show’s audience or value, maybe they’ll be ready for decent TV Show programming. Until then, stick to Kitchen Nightmares, X-Factor, and that disposable dribble that costs close to nothing to produce. Personally, I’ll be catchin’ my sci-fi shows on cable and Netflix!!! Ciao FRINGE, Walter, Olivia, Peter, Astrid, Broyles, Nina… We Will Miss You :(

  31. roverradar says:

    Fringe was NOT cancelled. It was given the proper ending, fans fought so hard for. Had it been cancelled, there would be NO Final Season (5) – and we’d all be hanging (like when Alcatraz ended), forever wondering what could have happened! Yes, low ratings are to blame (among other things). But the fact that, Reilly gave Joel Wyman and his team, the chance to FINISH the story, is certainly something we can be truly grateful for. Jeff Pinkner, Joel, the Cast and Crew KNEW, it was the fans keeping the series alive. And acknowledged them as well, for the possibility and reality, of Season 5.

  32. roverradar says:

    THERE IS ONLY ONE FRINGE – and there will NEVER BE another one, like it! They can try, but it will NEVER be copied and/or imitated in the same manner whatsoever, period. It will always and forever be, THE BEST TV Series (with amazing Cast and Crew), ever written AND produced!

  33. tvdiva says:

    Wayward Pines sounds a lot like SYFY’s Haven – FBI Agent Audrey Parker goes to a small town in Maine on a case and finds a “troubled” town…

  34. Britt says:

    Nobody wants The Glee Project. Give it up already.

  35. Michael says:

    I watched with anticipation when Fringe first went on the air. I thoroughly enjoyed it right up until they created the twin worlds. It seemed it lost its direction. I still watch it but I wish they had adopted a more local theme like Grimm and the portland area. Something about that area,like when Millennium was filmed there. Xfiles had a purpose, narrowly defined and extremely interesting. Fringe could have been the same way. I always thought that Anna Torv was not right for the part. When you look at part of what made Xfiles work was the dynamic between Duchovny and Anderson. Anderson was always more feminine than Torv. This gender bending focus in Hollywood needs to stop. Its a turn off.

  36. luis says:

    say that glee have to leave mckinley, is like say you have to leave your home, glee is a show that talks about a chorus in highschool, not is just the show of rachel, kurt, mercedes and santana, i love them but i think they dont are indispensable, this season is awesome you just dont give the new characthers a chance

  37. Steph Strain says:

    I am much more engaged by Glee’s NYC storyline (and Kurt/Rache’ chemistry); I’d been hoping very much that Santana would decide to move over, with Mike and Mercedes heading there, as well, and Quinn coming up to visit from New Haven.

    My best of all worlds would be a spin-off, with NYC and Lima separate, so that proper storyline and character development can proceed.

    I am STARTING to like the newbies – and would miss Artie, Tina, Blaine, Sam and Brit (and, of course, Sue S, Becky, Finn, Burt, Wemma & Coach Bieste). And I like the Unique/Marley and Puck/Jake chemistries. Ryder/Jake are starting to be more interesting and Blaine/Sam’s friendship is not bad.

    But when push comes to shove, I much prefer the NYC locale and the more adult storylines. Gotta admit I love the NYADA setup, and am looking forward to seeing Kurt join it, seeing more of Whoopie (hopefully keeping SJP sometimes) and Khate Hudson (her character makes that spelling perfect). Looking forward to the drama of the new love interest – and more interesting if Blaine does make it there next year (love/friendship/drama > /evil grin)

    So let’s have a SPIN-OFF and snag the HS/Lima AND the NYC/artsy demographics ;)

  38. Kate says:

    ““It was great to finally see one through and finish it in a great way for fans, and not leave them hanging,” he said.” (Seriously Reilly??)

    Cancelling a series but giving them an end date to wrap things up is still cancelling, how is that good for the fans? Fringe barely got the “5th season” (13 episodes? Come onnnn!). So yes, short-changing one of the only good shows on the network (and one with a loyal fan base) is leaving them hanging. Grow up and stop spinning stuff to make yourself feel better.

    You wouldn’t have to find the “next Fringe” if you hadn’t cancelled the one you have and left it out to dry! So tired of this network getting rid of perfectly good shows with lots of potential and shortchanging others to give really awful ones half a season and then getting rid of them when we all knew it would happen the moment we heard the plots (let’s face it, some of these are REALLY awful).

    Can’t say I’m surprised though…they do make you wait 8 days to see an episode online if you missed it, they never put their serialized shows on any streaming service like Netflix…doesn’t matter how awesome word of mouth is if you have to wait for DVDs to catch up. (Take a page out of ABCs playbook…last 5 eps on the website, season 1 shows went to Netflix…word of mouth works people if they can get access to the show and catch up!)

    What a joke this network has become! Once Fringe is done for in a couple of weeks I can’t see myself watching anything on this pathetic network again. No wonder new shows don’t do well here: they’re either awful to begin with or people are too afraid to bother liking it cause it’ll just get cancelled so they can pump out more garbage to cancel 2 weeks into the new season. It’s becoming painfully obvious the new show crop is just a revolving door and the older shows just aren’t appreciated regardless of how loud the fans get.

    Congratulations Fox: you just lost most of the remaining people you had (for dramas at least) and if Fringe’s end doesn’t drive them away for good, the end of Bones probably will.

  39. 4thjet says:

    Mob Doctor is a dumb title but it actually describes what the show is about. Glad they have decided not to cancel it as the show was good and I enjoyed it.

    So sad the end of Fringe is near, but at least they are wrapping it up.

    They could bring back Terra Nova or Alcatraz as they never got wrapped up and ended both shows just as a major thing happened. I couldn’t believe it that they cancelled Terra Nova when it had decent numbers.

    No wonder FOX has moved down to number 3, keep canceling good shows and putting on more crap!