Brill’s Video Beat: Fox 2010-2011 primetime announcement

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Outside the Beacon Theatre, the venue for Fox’s primetime announcement, buyers and advertisers were surrounded by giant helium balloons promoting FOX shows.  Much to the amusement of attendees who recalled seeing them earlier that day was NBC’s painted taxi fleet making their way up Broadway.


Hugh Laurie took the stage first thanking the crowd for their support of House as well as Fox for showing patience during the shows initial launch when it struggled to find viewers.

Jon Nesvig, ad sales chief spoke about the power of the TV medium for its strength across the purchase funnel. He referenced Return-On-Investment studies which confirm TV’s direct contribution to sales.  He also pointed out that rather than replace traditional media, new media are platforms are additive.  This is confirmed by research. He also wished a happy fifth birthday to You Tube, while noting how the audience to the TV screen remains dwarfs audience to the online video screen.

Peter Rice, chair of Fox Entertainment spoke of TV’s power to connect people and the medium’s ability to drive the cultural conversation.

Next up was Glee’s own Jane Lynch in character as Sue Sylvester, making introducing Fox President of Entertainment Kevin Reilly as head of “Blah, blah blah” and poking fun of his shiny white teeth and nice hair.

Fox has plenty to brag about. The network has won the Adult 18-49 demographic for six straight seasons and has had its first fourth quarter victory in the demographic group.

Rookie series Glee, is the top-ranked new series and has strong international appeal.  Four new shows will launch in the fall, all with lead-in support from existing shows.

“None of these shows are going to be hanging out there on their own,” said Kevin Reilly, president of entertainment of the Fox Broadcasting Co. In addition, according to Reilly, “Last season, we did what FOX does best: we took some risks that paid off. Now we’re going to up the ante with an even more diverse and creative roster of programs for next year,” said Reilly. “With three daring new dramas, a fresh new animated series and three new live-action comedies, we’re positioned to rebuild the FOX comedy brand, introduce the next generation of unique characters and deliver an even more compelling experience for our viewers next season. Complacency is not an option at Fox.”

The announcement concluded with the cast of Glee backed by a choir performing and lip syncing to their cover of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”.

Schedule Overview
Fox will be adding four new prime-time shows during the fall and another three during midseason for a total of seven. In addition Fox is host to Super Bowl XLV. 

A very special episode of Glee will air in the post-game slot.

On Monday, Lonestar will follow House at 9 p.m. Lonestar is a kind of modern-day Dallas, a serialized soap set against the backdrop of big Texas oil.

Glee is moving to Tuesdays to help push two new half-hour comedies. “Running Wilde” is about a filthy-rich, immature playboy trying desperately to win — or buy the heart of — his childhood sweetheart. It airs at 9 p.m. Raising Hope is next at 9:30 p.m., a single-camera comedy that follows the Chance family as they find themselves adding an unexpected new member into their dysfunctional household.

Wednesday stays pretty much the same with Lie to Me and then Kitchen Nightmares as On Thursdays Bones and Fringe return. This marks the first time that Thursday night schedule has returned intact. Both Thursday shows are up 15% in 18-49 versus YAG before.

Friday will add the new buddy cop show, The Good Guys, starring Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks, as of May 19.

Regarding next season’s cycle of the top-ranked American Idol, there will be some modifications based on viewer feedback. Next season the Tuesday night competition show will be expanded to 90 minutes and Wednesday’s results show will be cut down to 30 minutes.

While many believe that the departure of judge Simon Cowell is a major event, Reilly adds there is “a huge, huge swath of viewers that are very happy with it.”  Further Cowell will be getting a proper sendoff during the show’s finale.  His new show X-Factor gets underway in fall 2011. Even if Idol drops another 10% in audience following the departure of Cowell, it will still be the top-ranked show in Adults 18-49. At the time of this writing, there is no announcement regarding a replacement for Cowell. I expect that news regarding the new Idol judge will be announced during the upcoming summer TCA tour.

During midseason, Fox will add Bob’s Burgers, about a man, his family and a burger joint to its Sunday night lineup.  Ride Along, a gritty Chicago cop drama by way of Shawn Ryan who did FX’s The Shield.  Mixed Signals, a new comedy series, which features three longtime friends and their attempts to reconcile their differences, will join Fox’s slate on Tuesdays at 9:30 beginning January 2011.  Also recently green-lit to series is Steven Spielberg’s, futuristic and prehistoric sci-fi drama Terra Nova,  The show is about an elite group of people who  get sent through a portal back to pre-historic days in order to save mankind from extinction.

The Buzz
As usual, a top-notch reception was held at the Wollman Rink. I had the opportunity to speak off the record with several top buyers and advertisers.

Based on a consensus from random buyers and advertisers, the show receiving the most praise, was live action comedy, Raising Hope.  Opinions were mixed regarding new entries: Lone Star, and Ride Along.  One person complained that Ride Along looked too dark, gritty and violent and they would never watch it.  I asked whether he watches Glee and he said “no, that’s for kids,” to which I replied “It’s not about whether you personally would watch it. It’s about whether it’s a quality show that attracts and engages substantial audiences that your client wants to reach with their ad messages.

Another new series that has potential, is new comedy Running Wilde which stars Wil Arnett and Keri Russell, The comedy is about a filthy-rich, immature playboy trying desperately to win (or buy) the heart of his altruistic childhood sweetheart, This series is from Mitch Hurwitz, creator of Arrested Development.

From my perspective, a new series should never be dismissed based on a small clip, nor should it be judged by whether one would watch it personally. It has always been my belief that it is essential to screen the full pilot before passing judgment on any new show, especially the ones that are high-concept.  In my experience there are many series with complex characters and storylines that may not clip well, but once I screened the pilot I had a better sense of the premise and the characters.  Back in 2001, when I watched clips of new series 24, I wasn’t sure whether the premise would work because it was dark, gritty and violent. Ride Along, which is similar in tone, will air on Mondays at 9 p.m. (24’s former timeslot). However the moment I viewed the pilot, I was instantly riveted by Jack Bauer and the edge-of-your-seat action. I knew that 24 was something special and the show ran for eight successful seasons. 

FOX FALL 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE
MONDAY
8:00-9:00 PM HOUSE
9:00-10:00 PM LONESTAR
TUESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM GLEE
9:00-9:30 PM RAISING HOPE
9:30-10:00 PM RUNNING WILDE
WEDNESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM LIE TO ME
9:00-10:00 PM HELL’S KITCHEN
THURSDAY
8:00-9:00 PM BONES
9:00-10:00 PM FRINGE
FRIDAY
8:00-9:00 PM HUMAN TARGET
9:00-10:00 PM THE GOOD GUYS
SATURDAY
8:00-8:30 PM COPS
8:30-9:00 PM COPS
9:00-10:00 PM AMERICA’S MOST WANTED
SUNDAY
7:00-8:00 PM THE OT (NFL post-game)
8:00-8:30 PM THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9:00 PM THE CLEVELAND SHOW
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM AMERICAN DAD

FOX MIDSEASON 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE
MONDAY
8:00-9:00 PM HOUSE
9:00-10:00 PM LONESTAR / RIDE-ALONG
TUESDAY
8:00-9:30 PM AMERICAN IDOL Performance Show
9:30-10:00 PM RUNNING WILDE / MIXED SIGNALS (spring)
WEDNESDAY
8:00-8:30 PM RAISING HOPE
8:30-9:00 PM AMERICAN IDOL Results Show
9:00-10:00 PM GLEE
THURSDAY
8:00-9:00 PM BONES
9:00-10:00 PM FRINGE
FRIDAY
8:00-9:00 PM HUMAN TARGET
9:00-10:00 PM KITCHEN NIGHTMARES
SATURDAY
8:00-8:30 PM COPS
8:30-9:00 PM COPS
9:00-10:00 PM AMERICA’S MOST WANTED
SUNDAY
7:00-7:30 PM THE SIMPSONS (encores)
7:30-8:00 PM AMERICAN DAD
8:00-8:30 PM THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9:00 PM BOB’S BURGERS
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM THE CLEVELAND SHOW

Shows in Bold are New; Shows in Blue are new for midseason

— Shari Anne Brill, Industry Analyst and former SVP/Director of Programming and Strategic Audience Analysis for Carat. You can reach her at [email protected]; and follow her on Twitter @shariannebrill.