Pasadena, Calif. -- Fox has created a new unit to develop
and produce alternative animated series for a new late-night programming block
and digital multi-platform network, it was announced here Sunday.
The network has hired Nick Weidenfeld, the former head of
program development for Adult Swim to run the new unit, along with producer
Hend Baghdady to be the executive in charge of production for the new division.
The late-night programming block will air Saturdays from11
p.m.-12:30 a.m. with four new animated series per season starting January 2013
including 11-minute shorts and 22-minute series.
The digital channel, which will launch in 2012, will cover the
platforms of online, mobile apps, game consoles and video on demand and include
50 original shorts per year, online windows for Fox animated series and user-adapted
Reilly said the impetus for creating the new unit was as a
way to be in business with talent they didn't have room for in their Sunday
night animation lineup and to build a bench of series that could step in when
long-running franchises like The Simpsons
and Family Guy finally go off the
air. While the unit was not designed to be an incubator, Reilly said it may in
fact end up being just that.
"You never want to be at the place where you're "Must-See TV"
and you've locked into the tent poles and you haven't received the next
generation and you look up and say what happened," Reilly said, making
reference to his time at NBC. "Those shows [The
Simpsons and Family Guy] are
aging. They're unbelievably resilient but they're not going to go on forever
and we do need the next generation in place behind them. I don't want to be in
the place where you have to light switch, that never out works well."
And though the late-night block will run opposite Saturday Night Live, Reilly said he
didn't see the venerable NBC series as vulnerable.
"Saturday Night Live
is an institution, the shows are going to be apples and oranges, but I do think
that we're really going to be able to grab a good chunk of young male
audience," he said.