TCA: Fox Putting Big Bets on the Mid-Season

Execs silent on future of ‘Pitch,’ ‘Exorcist’
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Complete Coverage: 2017 TCA Winter Press Tour

Pasadena, Calif.—Speaking during Fox’s day at TCA, Gary Newman, Fox Television Group chairman and CEO, said Fox purposely held its major launches until the mid-season, with both the World Series and election pulling viewers away from entertainment programming in the fall.

Recent debutants Star and The Mick show promise, said Newman: “With a little luck in terms of scheduling and marketing, those can turn into real assets.”

Fall premieres Pitch and The Exorcist have not delivered major ratings. Newman said there would be no decision on their fate until upfront season.

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He said Fox had not made a decision on the fate of Scream Queens either, but acknowledged Fox “would’ve loved to see it do bigger numbers.”

Regarding Wayward Pines, he said the show was not cancelled but will not air this summer.

Asked if the divide that the election spotlighted in America would cause any kind of pivot in Fox programming, Newman said the network does not “draw a direct correlation” between the two.

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“When we get to May, we may well be influenced by the mood of the country, but that remains to be seen,” he added, in terms of whether shows are shaded darker or lighter. Newman noted how the country has been divided for some time.

Newman said Fox has done “a pretty good job of representing the country” with its programming. “As we develop, we’re thinking ‘are we doing a show that has a broader canvas? Are we going to address lots of viewers?’”

Newman spoke excitedly of the summer game show Beat Shazam, hosted by Jamie Foxx and a Love Connection remake hosted by Andy Cohen. The latter will include same-sex couples, said David Madden, Fox entertainment chief.

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Madden appeared optimistic that The X-Files will continue, saying he hopes to share some news soon.

Both were pleased to see This Is Us, from Fox’s studio, thrive on NBC. Newman said that NBC, home of critically adored past dramas Parenthood and Friday Night Lights, made it a better fit for family-focused This Is Us than Fox.

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