Disney’s pending acquisition of the bulk of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets looms large over the latter’s television divisions. But with final approval of the deal still a year to a year and a half away, Fox Broadcasting’s top leaders still have a network to program.
“It is business as usual for the next 12-18 months,” Fox Television Group co-CEO Gary Newman said Thursday at the Television Critics Association press tour.
In the near term, Fox has “The Four,” its music-competition event series set to premiere Thursday night. Fox alternative-programming chief Rob Wade — appearing with Newman, fellow Fox Television Group co-CEO Dana Walden, and Fox entertainment president Michael Thorn in an executive session — touted the show’s cast.
“We put together this phenomenal panel,” Wade said, speaking of the show’s judges Sean “Diddy” Combs, DJ Khaled, Meghan Trainor, and Charlie Walker. “I think we have a very clear, concise show. We have a very clear marketing message.” The show, he added, “has a freshness that I haven’t seen before.
Thorn confirmed that the network is eyeing another revival of “Prison Break,” which it brought back last season as an event series. “It’s very early stages of development and we’re really excited about it,” he said.
Walden and Newman tamped down expectations regarding future installments of “The X-Files,” a new season of which debuted Wednesday on Fox. Walden fielded a question about a recent statement by star Gillian Anderson saying that she has no desire to make additional seasons of the sci-fi franchise, and a subsequent statement by creator Chris Carter saying that he has no desire to make new seasons without her. “It seems like if those are the circumstances, there won’t be any more ‘X Files,'” she said.
Newman, speaking to reporters after the session, left the door open to future seasons being made, but said no talks have occurred.
“I think you could have asked Chris, David [Duchovny], or Gillian at various times since the show originally went off the air, ‘Would you do “The X-Files”?’ and some day you’d get a yes, some days you’d get a no — and they’ve done two additional seasons,” Newman said. “I would not dismiss the possibility that in the future there would be more, but not only are there no plans, there has not been a single conversation about it.”
Asked if he was “hopeful” about future seasons, Newman said, “It would be foolish for me to even speculate on it.”