×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Rice meets the press

Fox picks up 'Kitchen,' hot on 'Burger'

New Fox Entertainment chairman Peter Rice met the press for the first time as a TV exec Thursday — and was immediately smacked by Hurricane Paula.

Seated next to entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly at Fox’s portion of the TV Critics Assn. press tour, Rice noted that the net’s executive session had promised to be a rather low-key affair until Tuesday night, when “American Idol” judge Paula Abdul announced her exit.

“I’ve really been looking forward to (the press tour) and to getting to know you all,” Rice told reporters. “And I guess that all changed about 36 hours ago, and then I wasn’t looking forward to it much in the last 24 hours.”

With that, Rice and Reilly got into the Abdul brouhaha, discussing her departure and the net’s contingency plans for “Idol” (see separate story).

Separate from the “Idol” chatter, Fox announced it had just picked up an eighth season of “Hell’s Kitchen.”

Also, execs said the one-hour special “Gordon Ramsay: Cookalong Live” would air on Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 9 p.m.

Not returning to their airwaves, however, is reality series “Moment of Truth,” which had been slated to return this summer. Fox alternative topper Mike Darnell blamed that cancellation on the tough ad climate.

“It works for us, it gave us a good number, but in this economic environment it made it a difficult show to sell,” Darnell said.

Reilly also cited the rough advertising marketplace in the net’s decision not to run an abortion-themed episode of “Family Guy” last spring.

“It was a business decision,” Reilly said. “It’s an extremely fragile subject matter at an extremely fragile economic time. We felt like it could cause trouble.”

Besides the sales issue, Fox Networks Group chairman Tony Vinciquerra said he also had some problems with the episode’s content.

“It’s not a show you want to put on a broadcast network,” he said. “We love Seth (MacFarlane), but it didn’t make sense from a lot of different directions, including advertisers.”

Fox did agree to help fund an event next week, with 20th Century Fox TV, in which MacFarlane and the “Family Guy” cast will perform a table read of the abortion episode (Daily Variety, Aug. 6).

Also not returning to the network: Fox’s stab at a variety franchise, “The Osbournes: Reloaded.” Not only was the initial special pre-empted by a number of affiliates, but it flopped in the ratings.

Although the net still has six episodes of “King of the Hill” in the can, Reilly said he had no plans to run those remaining episodes, including one that had been produced as a possible series finale. Instead, those segs will simply go into the syndicated run of the show.

On the animated front, Reilly said he was high on the pilot presentation “Bob’s Burgers,” from Loren Bouchard (“Dr. Katz”) and Jim Dauterive (“King of the Hill”), who created and will also exec produce and showrun.

20th Century Fox TV is behind the project, which has not been officially ordered yet, although a pickup appears to be imminent. Net has recently ordered more scripts of the half-hour, which could be the next Sunday night franchise for the net.

Reilly also didn’t rule out the possibility of picking up the broadcast window of “Futurama,” which was recently revived by 20th and Comedy Central. “If we see a renaissance with the show, it’s not out of the equation,” Reilly said.

Competitively, Reilly said he wouldn’t count out NBC’s five-night “The Jay Leno Show” strip, which he believes will perform decently.

“Jay is not going to flatline,” Reilly said. “He’s got a built-in fanbase. He’s going to put on a good show. There’s not a ‘Mentalist’ on (at 10 p.m.) five nights a week, so there are some ratings points up for grabs.”

Nonetheless, Reilly said NBC as a whole may take a hit from the show, noting how talkshows generally lose ratings throughout the hour.

“They struggle at 8, and there are not a lot of powerhouses at 9,” Reilly said of the Peacock. “You have got to look at the whole picture.”

CBS, meanwhile, “will be very competitive this year,” Reilly said, noting that they’ve “traded up on Tuesday, have ‘Mentalist’ on Thursday and have the Super Bowl.” And ABC has “a few to watch,” Reilly said, expressing belief that “Flash Forward” will open strong.

As for his own net, Reilly said he believes Fox will be “stable and competitive” this season.

Meanwhile, Reilly mostly passed on an opportunity to take a dig at former NBC exec Ben Silverman.

Asked to comment on Silverman’s recent departure announcement, Reilly asked, “Which time, the official announcement or the six-month pre-announcement?” But beyond that, Silverman’s job status “hasn’t affected Fox for the last two years and I assume it won’t affect it for the next two.”

A. Smith and Co. and ITV Studios are behind “Hell’s Kitchen.” Arthur Smith and Kent Weed exec produce.

On one final “Idol” note, Rice sought to correct reports that said “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest had received a pay bump to $15 million per year.

“Ryan is still in his old contract on ‘Idol,’ and Ryan made a deal with (19 Entertainment owner) CKX, which encompasses much more than ‘Idol,’ ” Rice said. “Ryan is not being paid $15 million a year to be on ‘Idol.’ “

More TV

  • Hong Kong's TVB Boosts OTT Plans,

    Hong Kong's TVB Boosts OTT Plans, Sets 'Court Lady'

    Hong Kong’s Television Broadcasts is set to boost its OTT platforms locally and abroad with new packages and initiatives targeting the Southeast Asian market. The city’s biggest broadcaster has also renewed its partnership with China’s Huanyu Entertainment following the wild success the two enjoyed last year with palace drama “Story of Yanxi Palace.” The new [...]

  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

    Stephen Colbert Cancels 'Late Show' New Zealand Trip After Mosque Shootings

    “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” had been scheduled to make a surprise trip to New Zealand this week — but those plans have been put on hold in light of last Friday’s terrorist attack that left 50 people dead. On Monday’s show, Colbert revealed the now-shelved trip, which had been kept under wraps but [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Hollywood Agents, Writers Guild Make Little Progress in Talks

    Leaders of Hollywood agencies and the Writers Guild of America made little progress in Tuesday meeting to negotiate proposed rule revisions to how agents represent writers. The WGA said after the meeting — the fifth since Feb. 5 — that talks would resume later this week but did not give a specific day. “The Agencies [...]

  • THE MASKED SINGER: L-R: Monster (T-Pain)

    New-Model Murdochs: Fox Corporation to Emerge Tuesday

    A new era for the Murdoch clan and the media business begins with the debut of Fox Corporation on Tuesday, a day before Disney completes its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The new-model Fox will begin trading Tuesday on the NASDAQ under the FOXA symbol. On Tuesday, 21st Century Fox will initiate a complex transfer [...]

  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops 'The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part 2' Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s TV roundup, Netflix has dropped the first trailer for “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part 2” starring Kiernan Shipka, and former “O.C.” star Rachel Bilson has been cast in Fox’s drama pilot “Lovestruck.” CASTING Former “O.C.” star Rachel Bilson is set to play the female lead in Fox’s new drama pilot “Lovestruck.” The [...]

  • Ron Howard and Brian Grazer

    Imagine TV Sets 'Mindscaping' as First China Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Imagine Television is developing “Mindscaping,” a 24-episode science fiction series written by Oscar Yang (“Medical Examiner Dr. Qin,” “The Ten Deadly Sins”). The series is the first Chinese-language series developed by Imagine Television, part of Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment group, for a Chinese audience. The show is pitched as an original sci-fi [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content