Fox's Kevin Reilly on 'X Factor' Ratings, 'Terra Nova' and Fixing 'Glee' (Exclusive Q&A)
Kevin Reilly Upped to Fox Broadcasting Company's Entertainment Chairman
This piece appears in the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Click here to see the cover.
It's Sept. 21, and Kevin Reilly is coming down with something, which is understandable given his exhausting week. He launched several hours of new programming, and with the Emmy telecast under his watch, Fox's entertainment president squeezed in a triathlon -- his second this year. Despite a head cold, the veteran TV executive is beaming after the Zooey Deschanel comedy New Girl premiered to an impressive 10.3 million viewers and a 4.8 rating in the 18-to-49 demo (it held much of that audience for its second episode, prompting Fox to pull the trigger on the season's first full-season pick-up) . Reilly, 49, has programmed Fox for four years after stints at NBC, FX and Brad Grey Television. With the addition of gutsy offerings The X Factor and Terra Nova this season, and with such staples as Glee and Family Guy, Fox is poised to rank No. 1 among those younger viewers for an eighth straight season. The married father of three boys and avid environmentalist (he is active with the Nature Conservancy) sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss topics including Fox's year-round strategy for summer and whether he's second-guessing himself over Terra Nova.
The Hollywood Reporter: What are your goals for this development season?
Kevin Reilly: Live-action comedies probably top the list. Since I came back to Fox, the network has kind of lost its pulse on the comedy side. It's debatable how much brand association you have with a network, but historically, there has been higher brand association with Fox: "Oh, that's a Fox unscripted show," or, "that's a Fox drama." Fox comedy had been clear at one point, from Married … With Children to The Bernie Mac Show to Malcolm in the Middle. It really kind of lost its way, and now I finally feel like we've got the makings of getting that built again. We're going to try four comedies in March [likely to include Christian Slater's Breaking In], and it's something we want to see more of on the schedule next year. The other priority is building out the whole year.
THR: You've been talking about year-round scheduling for some time.
Reilly: Yes, and I think we have the opportunity with X Factor in the fall to finally do it. Even though we program the summer with top-rated unscripted shows, a lot of our schedule goes into repeats, and repeats have little to no value on network TV anymore. If we end up with the kind of season we think we are going to have, we really want to start extending into what essentially will look like year-round originals. We have fewer hours than other networks, and one of the high-class problems that I'm fighting right now is the general sentiment of some of the suppliers: "Oh, Fox doesn't need anything." I've been doing this a fairly long time, and I've never been at a network where you're so good you don't need anything. Whatever good news you have, you've always got two pieces of bad news looming, so we're going to use that extra shelf space of the summer to push that.
THR: What genres will you look to play in the summer?