Although Fox is beating every other network with its No. 1 show American Idol, executives want to get their scripted comedy legacy back.
At least, that’s according to James Hibberd’s an extensive interview with Fox’s president of entertainment Kevin Reilly.
According to Reilly, comedy is going to be the network’s big push this fall in a race to get ahead of networks like ABC, which has shows like Modern Family, Desperate Housewives, Scrubs and The Middle in its line-up. But as he points out “they threw a lot at it to get there,” meaning scripted shows are expensive.
THR: What are you’re biggest needs this year development-wise?
Kevin Reilly, president of entertainment, Fox: Comedy. We lost our toehold on live-action comedy. I give ABC a lot of credit for getting that block going, but they threw a lot at it to get there. It’s hard to create these out of whole cloth on their own when you don’t have protection. And secondly, we were fighting a down cycle for a number of years where there just wasn’t a lot of comedy working. There’s signs of life there; everyone has talked about the cyclical nature of the business for a long time. I actually believe we’re about to go into a bull market in comedy, and there’s no reason why Fox can’t win in that area. And I think we have some excellent stuff cooking, certainly the best stuff I’ve seen since I’ve been here at Fox. We’re going to be back in business with it, and we’re going to schedule accordingly to protect it. Read more at The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed blog—>
Reilly promised back in January that the network would greenlight five live-action comedy pilots.
Reilly said he expects other scripted shows like Bones, Fringe and even 24 to stick around, even if their ratings aren’t top notch.
Reality shows with live elements, like American Idol, have helped boost Fox’s revenues. Although animated comedies The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Family Guy and American Dad remain successful, and sleeper hits like Glee are bringing in new viewers, Fox hasn’t established comedy block glory.
Perhaps bringing in a guy like Conan O’Brien will help out…
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