Charlie Collier: Here Comes the ‘Fox Mom’ Era of Animated Comedies

Get ready for a fresh twist on a Fox animated comedy. Fox Entertainment chief Charlie Collier said the network plans to “double down” on its strength in adult animation with two new shows on deck that will offer a strong female perspective.

“We know what the ‘Fox Dad’ is — Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin — now we have the ‘Fox Mom’ coming up,” Collier said during his keynote address on April 7 at the National Association of Broadcasters’ Executive Leadership Summit, held as part of the NAB’s annual weeklong conference in Las Vegas.

Collier cited the upcoming animated comedy “Bless the Harts,” toplined by Kristen Wiig from comedy veteran Emily Spivey and Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Also on tap is “Duncanville,” spearheaded by Amy Poehler and creators Mike Scully and Julie Thacker-Scully, with Rashida Jones on board for the voice cast.

“It’s a murderer’s row of talent,” Collier said. “That’s really promising.”

Collier, formerly a top executive at AMC Networks, has been at the helm of the Fox broadcast network for about six months. The network and its Fox Corporation parent company is undergoing a massive transformation after the separation from other 21st Century Fox assets that were formally acquired by Disney last month.

Collier described the atmosphere at the new iteration of Fox as working for a startup with enormous resources.

“We have been offered a new ‘day one’ for our company. That’s the rarest opportunity in business,” Collier enthused. “We have a tremendous balance sheet and we are eager to build out our capabilities. We are not scared to invest. All of that is creating an energy in the hallways that is palpable.”

Collier acknowledged that Fox has some marketing challenges ahead as it balances the needs of a schedule of shows that aim for different demographics on most nights.

“Your greatest strength is your greatest weakness,” Collier said. “We don’t speak to just one audience. Our strength is the diversity of our opportunity but marketing from one night to the other is harder.”

Collier was pressed on whether the network’s corporate association with Fox News is becoming a liability amid growing outrage in the creative community about some of the political commentary offered by Fox News’ primetime opinion hosts.

Collier emphasized that the network’s operations are wholly separate from Fox News, separated by 3,000 miles and a different business agenda.

“They’ve never once called and asked me to express my editorial opinion and they’ve certainly not been asked to weigh in on the entertainment side,” Collier said. He pointed to recent Fox programs ranging from the musical staging of “Rent” to a recent episode of “Family Guy” that took aim at President Donald Trump.

“The editorial integrity of this (company) from a pure entertainment perspective is incredible,” Collier said. “Not only is there respect for artistic integrity but people have felt encouraged to come to us because of that creative freedom.”

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