FOX Chief Kevin Reilly answered most of the questions asked by reporters during a conference call this morning regarding the FOX 2014 schedule.
The big takeaways: American Idol will be cut down to 37 hours (from the current 50+). Glee will premiere in 2015. The current episode order is for 22, but Rielly hints that could change. Also, a little on Empire, a new music show about the hip hop world which will be paired with Idol in 2015.
I’ll bet Reilly is KICKING himself for renewing Glee for two more seasons. It took forever to finally announce the musical comedy would be renewed. Speculation was that the negotiations between the two parties were tough. Indeed, it looks like Ryan Murphy drove a hard bargain, nailing down specifics Reilly would like to take back. We’ll see what happens.
As far as American Idol is concerned, I find it interesting that Reilly isn’t speaking as if an endgame is in sight. Last year, at one of these meetings, executives were talking about Idol “winding down.” It actually probably is, but I think the network would like to continue the franchise if at all possible.
Check out quotes from the conference call, below:
When Idol hits the schedule in 2015, how many times will it air? “…The format of Idol will change. We’ve always built our second season schedule around Idol knowing that it was a fixture and knowing pretty much what the format was going to be. Next year the format will be different. It’s going to be less hours…it’s going to be 37 hours (It airs 50+ hours now) it’s going to be streamlined. I think you’ll see a two night format at least initially during the audition phase. But I think it’s quite likely–we have not locked into it exactly–it will end up being a two hour show on one night through most of it’s run. We have a pretty good sense of where things are going to go, but we’re going to let that shake out a little bit.”
Why do you think Idol can turn it around next season? What were the main problems this season? “I don’t think it’s a matter of turning it around. I think it’s about being a vital show…Idol is not going to come back to being the ratings champion it once was. But what we believe, is the show could be on the air for many years to come, and will be, as a potent time period contender at a top rating unscripted show that’s quality, that people loved and we can do business with, in the same way that Survivor hasn’t been at the top ratings for many years and it has vital seasons year after year. That’s the mode we’re now in for Idol. It’s not about turning it around. I think that story has been filed. Now it’s just about making a good show for many years to come.”
“The show’s 13 years old, I think eventually…with the category very crowded, you’re seeing that in general in these competition shows. The Voice had an incredible year, but it’s been down every quarter that it’s been on. That’s just what’s happening in that particular category.”
Will the current judges panel be back? “I think it’s likely. We don’t ever confirm that until after the season wraps. We’re getting good indications from all of them.”
Why was Glee given a two-year pickup? “It was negotiation. We sat down creatively and heard where it was going. With thought there was a creative, compelling reason to do it that way. Ryan has a really good bead on where the show [will conclude]. It will be its last season for sure. When it comes in the second half of the season that will also air all of their episodes in a row. It was kind of…a business negotiation.
Will Glee run for 13 or 22 episodes next season? “The order is currently for 22, but we actually got a sit down with Ryan and really talk about how we’re going to end it and figure that out. The advantage of having it on later in the season is that we don’t have to feel the pressure of delivering. We can do them in a row. We’re going to sit down and talk about exactly how to end the show now, and how many that is.”
American Idol will be paired up with Empire “Academy Award nominee, Lee Daniels, Terrance Howard and Taraji P. Henson will star in a “behind the scenes..sort of an upstairs/downstairs [show about the Hip Hop world. I think it’s timely, it feels really contemporary and we’re going to once again have chart topping music. We have a deal with Timbaland to do original music. Music you’ll see in the pilot is very very strong.”
“That will be paired with American Idol which will be streamlined and have a new format. I think that will be a potent night.”