In advance of Fox's upfront presentation to ad buyers, network execs took on growth prospects for the already massive Empire, the demise of American Idol and the return of X-Files during a media conference call.
"We do think it can continue to grow," said COO Joe Earley, echoing co-chair Dana Walden's sentiment that a "bridge strategy" between Seasons 1 and 2 would keep viewers engaged. Its Wednesday 9 p.m. timeslot will remain unchanged.
Music remains a key to Empire's popularity – and profitability. On Monday the network announced pop star Ne-Yo had committed to creating original music for the show.
On the other end of the TV life cycle, Fox confirmed the upcoming Season 15 of American Idol will be its last. Gary Newman, co-chair of the network, said execs "didn't really think about" alternatives to pulling the plug, ideas like shifting it to a different time of year or revamping its formula.
"We all just decided it was the right time to end it," Newman said, his matter-of-fact tone an anticlimax to years of tabloid-worthy drama surrounding the show. While it helped pioneer broadcast reality, Idol has long been in a ratings slump.
Walden also painted a bright picture of Ryan Murphy's upcoming Scream Queens, which she said the creator describes as "Heathers meets Friday the 13th."
She fielded a question about the upcoming resumption of X-Files by saying execs know few specifics but couldn't pass on the opportunity. The show will be promoted out of the NFC Championship in January.