Fox chief Kevin Reilly says at TCA network wants to kill pilot season

By Daniel S Levine,

Fox wants to create a new way to develop television shows, moving away from the familiar pilot season, which the industry has used for decades to decide which shows it will air once the new season starts.

The pilot season happens during the spring of each year, with the four big networks ordering scripts and then ordering pilots. Next, the pilots will go to test audiences and eventually the executives will have to chose only a few to premiere in the fall. The process is finalized when the networks make presentations to advertisers in New York. Most never make it to our television screens.

Fox wants to do away with all this, Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly said Monday during the network’s eventful Television Critics Association Press Tour panel in Pasadena. The network would much rather work like a cable network, which typically orders a series to go to a full season before even a first season airs. This allows a show’s creative team to not feel the necessity to introduce all elements in a single episode in order to please executives.

The LA Times reports that the network hopes that this process will create more successful shows for them. “Look at the batting average, we couldn't do any worse,” Reilly said.

Reilly, who has experience on the cable side, having worked at FX, called the current system “highly inefficient,” notes Broadcasting & Cable. “It's nothing short of a miracle that the talent is able to produce anything of quality in that environment,” he told reporters.

So, Reilly said there are already 10 shows in series production for Fox. These include the Batman prequel Gotham, The Middle Man, Fatrick, Cabot College and Hieroglyph.

Later, Reilly said he’s not trying to make some ground-breaking statement on the TV industry. “I am not saying what is wrong with the industry, but I think we can get more consistent product and more scheduling and marketing flexibility,” he said.

Reilly also had some words on the struggling X Factor, explaining that the show will have to undergo some changes if it comes back, but he’s learned to never “count out Simon Cowell on anything.”

image: Fox



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