Fox prexy speaks out against copycats

Dana Walden has a message for the TV biz: Don’t send in the clones.

The 20th Century Fox TV prexy, in a speech at the Museum of TV and Radio Tuesday, pointed to the success ABC’s “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” as two examples of “creative, well executed” scripted dramas that have stolen the thunder of reality skeins. But she said the TV biz shouldn’t simply rush to duplicate the two hits.

“People unfortunately are trying to figure out how to copy (both skeins’) structure,” Walden explained. “(The key is) not to look back at past success. Just know that people are hungry for good TV.”

Walden suggested TV execs spend their time analyzing what is not on the air, sighting “scary” skeins as an example.

“The reality genre is now saturated,” Walden said. “Now, just like scripted dramas, the reality genre is the same — only the best will survive.”

Walden also predicted the sitcom genre will return with a bang just like dramas.

“The best schedules are the ones that have a place for everything,” Walden said. “ABC is on its way to building that schedule.”

Walden said execs and agents need to remember the old saw that “content is king” and that protecting creators’ vision is crucial to finding new successes.

“Creating a hit TV show is like lightning in a bottle,” exec said. “Be the champion to the creators and you will (succeed).”

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