Welcome to Remote Controlled, Variety’s podcast series featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.
This week’s episode features Variety executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum and editor-at-large Michael Schneider in conversation with Fox TV chairman and CEO Gary Newman about the network’s strategy for 2017.
Top of mind is “24: Legacy,” starring “Straight Outta Compton’s” Corey Hawkins, which will launch behind the “Super Bowl” in early February.
“We couldn’t be more excited about ’24: Legacy,'” says Newman. “We were not out looking to bring ’24’ back. Our producers came to us with a story they wanted to tell. We could not be more excited because that’s really where you want these things to start, with inspiration from your executive producers.”
Casting was key, says Newman, who credits the new lineup of Hawkins, Miranda Otto (“Homeland”), and Jimmy Smits. “Bringing ’24’ back to air without Kiefer [Sutherland] and Jack Bauer was something that we gave a lot of consideration to,” he says, adding that multiple projects were pursuing Hawkins. “Corey is fantastic in it. He’s an amazing actor.”
And then there’s “Star,” the latest effort from producer Lee Daniels. Newman contends there’s definitely room for another music show on the network. “It’s quite different than ‘Empire,'” he says, calling it a coup to land Queen Latifah and Benjamin Bratt. “Their performances are really outstanding.” While there’s no crossover planned, he says, “It wouldn’t shock me down the road if that were to happen.”
The network will also be rebooting “Prison Break” later this season, after a several-year hiatus. “It didn’t lend itself to a multi-year series,” he admits. “And there was not an obvious route to a new series.” But its international performance — as well as its success on Netflix — suggested to them that there was a fanbase that missed the show. The exec checked in regularly with creator Paul Scheuring, who kept saying no — until one day his agent called with a pitch. “His vision was to bring back all the characters,” says Newman. “I think the audience is going to be thrilled, both the old fans and the new fans who are going to discover it for the first time.”
As for “X-Files,” he says new episodes are still a question, given conflicting schedules. “I am the eternal optimist,” he says. “I think we’ll get there. But I can’t tell you what the timing is likely to be.”
You can listen to this week’s episode here:
New episodes of “Remote Controlled” are available every Friday.