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Monday, May 18, 2009

FOX Entertainment President Kevin Reilly Talks About the Schedule

Not surprisingly, most of the early questions this morning for Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment at FOX and Peter Rice, the Chairman of Entertainment at FOX, revolved around the renewal of “Dollhouse.” Most of the questions seemed supportive, but one reporter almost seemed to be mocking them for the decision.

And the “Dollhouse” discussion did lead into questions about “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” and Reilly’s answers are not going to make “Connor” fans happy…

Here’s a sample of some of the things Reilly had to say about FOX’s line-up…

On moving “So You Think You Can Dance” to the fall: “We didn’t want to reconstitute the schedule in January like we usually do. It creates a mirror of our mid-season schedule…It has a different audience than the other dance show…Most competition shows have two cycles. Nigel has some interesting ideas to bridge the gap between the summer and fall.” Reilly admitted there are one or two weeks of the show they’ll have to play around with a little because of baseball.

On having a two-hour edition of “SYTYCD” on Tuesdays, instead of trying to launch a new show: “The show has an established pattern. If you look at the mechanics of it, we really didn’t want to mess with something that’s working.”

On “Brothers”: “You’ll see a real chemistry there. It’s not afraid to be real at its core.” Reilly said that “Brothers” and “’Til Death” will create a “strong family comedy block.” I’ve never known Daryl “Chill” Mitchell to appear in a family anything, but whatever…

On “The Cleveland Show”: “It’s a little sweeter at its core” than “Family Guy.”

On “Dollhouse”: “It’s a bet on Joss Whedon. He has an unbelievable fan base. We’re placing our bet on Joss that he’ll keep it going next year…It’s a bet on creativity. DVR numbers are a factor. You’re gonna see it grow next season…If we had put new shows on Friday, it would have been met with cynicism. It’s better to bet on something that has a core that you believe will work.”

On “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”: “Terminator has completed its run. It was not an either/or [with “Dollhouse”]…Ultimately, we made the bet on ‘Dollhouse.’ That’s it for ‘Terminator.’” Later, in response to a question from Michael Ausiello, Reilly said, “Cost was a factor, but we looked at the ratings track and the trend lines were not moving in the right direction. We tried, but we thought it was time to move on.”

On “Sons of Tucson”: “Tyler Labine [last seen in “Reaper”] is a real talent.”

On “Human Target”: “It has real FOX DNA. Both male and female audiences will embrace Mark Valley.” Reilly said they plan to launch “Human Target” on January 17th after the NFC playoff game, which will lead right into the two-hour premiere of “24.”

On the “Glee” preview after “American Idol”: “It’s an audience we cannot buy in marketing dollars. It’s locked in on Wednesdays at 9. It’s going there regardless [of what Tuesday’s ratings are].” Reilly said there will be 13 episodes in the fall. Then the show will take a break to accommodate Ryan Murphy making a movie with Julia Roberts and will return in the spring (if it gets a full order, of course).

On how economics affected the scheduling: “Economics did not lead the discussion. Creativity led the discussion. Once we set the schedule, then we go back and look at the economic profile.”

On “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Kitchen Nightmares”: “We can really use those shows opportunistically. They’re self-starting and very flexible.” Reilly does expect to see at least one of them make their way onto the schedule at some point.

On moving “Fringe” to Thursdays opposite “CSI” and “Grey’s Anatomy”: “‘CSI’ has had quite a lot of decline. The door is more open on that night than it has been in a long time.” The appointment shows are down. ‘Fringe’ finished strong. There’s been a huge amount of buzz. It’s a real alternative to both of those shows.”