TCA: Fox to Split Development Season

Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly: Network to screen eight series in December, green-light 'a couple.'

Beverly Hills -- Fox is adapting to the strike-impacted development business by splitting its own development season into two parts -- commissioning and screening pilots in December, as well as during the traditional spring season.

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The network will screen about eight series in December, according to president of entertainment Kevin Reilly.

Addressing media gathered here for the first Television Critics Association press tour of the year, Reilly said Monday that he expects to see “a couple” of series orders come out of those screenings.

The strike “was obviously damaging,” he added. “I don’t think you’ve seen as much product as you probably would have. The spring was very tough.”

But Reilly was sanguine on broadcasts’ prospects for the fall, saying, “I would hope that this fall is a reset.”

Fox is reinvesting in comedic animation, a genre that helped to build the network, with Family Guy spinoff The Cleveland Show, which will join its Sunday-night animation slate with American Dad, King of the Hill, The Simpsons and Family Guy.

The network also has high hopes for J.J. Abrams’ Fringe, which will air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. beginning in September.

Abrams, creator of ABC’s Lost, has been juggling an increasingly busy feature-film career, including directing the upcoming Star Trek movie.

“Sometimes with these big showrunners,” Reilly said, “it’s all hype and no delivery. I think this is going to really deliver.”

Reilly also defended Fox’s penchant for rather puerile reality such as the much derided Moment of Truth.

“I will say one thing about Moment of Truth,” Reilly said. “This is Fox. One of the things I love about Fox is that we never give up our DNA.”

For the latest news and video from the TCA press tour, click here.