“We’ve said consistently that we’re not in the household business when it comes to ratings. We’re in the demographics business,” declares Sandy Grushow, current programming chief for the Fox Network.
“Our goal has always been, and continues to be, to deliver the largest number of adults, 18 to 49, as we possibly can.”
Grushow, who has been with Fox since 1988, believes that the two keys to Fox’s success are smart counter-programming and aggressiveness. Successfully pitting “The Simpsons” against NBC ratings king “The Cosby Show” was, he says, typical of the Fox approach.
“I have enormous admiration for Rupert and Barry for having the courage to make that decision,” Grushow says. “It became a trademark of an aggressive little company that was going to get in there and fight it out with the big guys.”
This season, along with a new slate of shows, Fox has placed “In Living Color” against NBC’s popular “Seinfeld,” in the old “Cheers” spot at 9 p.m. Thursdays, and “America’s Most Wanted” against ABC’s “Roseanne.”
“Those moves,” Grushow says, “represent Fox doing what it does best, which is seeing an opportunity from a counter-programming standpoint and seizing that opportunity.”
Grushow believes that risk-taking delivers more rewards than let-downs. “We have created a reputation by virtue of taking chances with respect to programming,” he says. “When you swing for the fences and try to do things in ways that have never been done before, you’re more apt to strike out. But it wasn’t until the network started to do things in a genuinely alternative manner and began to promote itself so that audiences would be aware of what Fox was doing, that the thing took off.”