Sunday, August 09, 2009

TCA: Fox

There is a lot to talk about regarding Fox in their press tour presentations, which took place Thursday and Friday:


- Of course, the big story is Paula Abdul leaving American Idol after eight years. At the Fox executive panel, executives Kevin Reilly and Peter Rice said they were talking to her for the last few months regarding a new contract, but was unable to make any headway. As for who would replace Ms. Abdul, Fox may look to female guest judges to fill the gap until a permanent solution could be found.

- What will this mean for Idol's ratings? While the execs say it shouldn't have any effect on the ratings, the numbers for Idol have slid this past season, and could slide even more with the departure of Paula Abdul. She was an integral part of the show, and there are many who turned into the show to see her give her "unique" view of things.

- On to other shows, Fox premieres several new programs this fall, including Brothers, Glee, The Cleveland Show, and Wanda Sykes' new Saturday night show.

- Brothers - not related to the 1984 Showtime sitcom featuring Joe Walden and Paul Regina - was screened for critics at the tour. And like its sitcom counterpart from a quarter-century ago, the program (starring Michael Strahan and Darryl "Chill" Mitchell) generated few laughs from critcs. Unlike the Showtime sitcom - which lasted for five painstakingly long years - this Brothers probably won't last five episodes. Sadly, this is more suited for Tyler Perry's block of shows on cable's TBS than for Fox.

Maybe they can hire Phillip Charles McKenzie to save the show...

- Glee was screened at the tour as well, but the musical drama got a much better reception from the crowd at Comic-Con. The premise of the show is a teacher trying to make over the high school glee club. But given the track record of musical dramas on TV, this might not work as well as Fox thinks. The show that comes closest to being a hit in this genre was Fame, which ran on NBC for two seasons and then moved to first-run syndication and then pretty much dropped off the face of the earth after that.

- Fox had a table read for The Cleveland Show at the tour. The Family Guy spin-off is replacing last year's occupant (King of the Hill) and should improve the time period's rating and share. As for Hill, it's done - the network said it has no plans to air the six remaining episodes it has in the can. It is likely the unaired episodes will air in broadcast syndication and on Adult Swim (a DVD release though, is not likely.)

A network leaving behind unaired series is nothing new - in 1990, ABC did not air the final episodes of Mr. Belvedere, and the same network passed on airing the last few episodes of Dinosaurs in 1994 (except the controversial series finale, which did air.) The unaired episodes of both series did run in syndication.

- A thought: Why is Fox airing the remaining episodes of Sit Down, Shut Up Saturday nights after Wanda Sykes' new show, but not King of the Hill?

- Fox also had a panel for Human Target, a new action drama targeted for midseason.

- Wanda Sykes' new Saturday late-night series premieres on November 7, after baseball season is over.


FX had an executive panel at TCA on Friday, with President John Landgraf defending his network as the place to be for entertainment programming targeted to an adult audience, as his programming (The Shield and Nip/Tuck) are often targeted by special-interest groups because of their excessive sex and violence.

Landgraf also discussed the network's future, as the network is producing more pilots in its history. One of those pilots is from comedian Louie CK, as the net is trying to broaden out more toward comedy.

-But the most controversial comments coming from the press tour thus far came from Rescue Me showrunner Peter Tolan, while during a panel on his show, shared his thoughts regarding NBC stripping Jay Leno five nights a week:

"I feel they should take the American flag down in front of [NBC's]building and just put up a white one, because they have given up."

Ouch. Given NBC's lousy TCA presentation - especially from those two idiot executives on stage, you think he might be on to something?

- Gee, Fox News didn't have a panel at TCA this year. I wonder why that is...

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