It is FOX's day to face the TV Critics at the summer meetings. The top executives always start with the highlights of the previous TV season. In the case of Dana Walder, Chairman and CEO, FOX Television Group, that including to pointing to new and continuing programs that were popular with viewers.
Walden immediately points to the top-rated "Empire" as a continuing success for the network. But, there have been other winners including the short-run return of "The X-Files" and how the comic-book inspired "Lucifer" has found a strong following. The devilish ratings numbers for "Lucifer" were and average of 10 million viewers for each episode. Finally, Walden called "Grease: Live" a creative triumph.
After getting her chance to applaud her network's shows, Walder fields questions from the critics.
Here are a few of her responses.
Q: FOX is launching two shows based on movies - "Lethal Weapon," "The Exorcist." What is the thinking on doing remakes?
A: The idea, again, in a market that’s so competitive, of taking a recognizable title has three marketing objectives: You want to build awareness. You need people to know about your show, you want to build intent to view that show. And you do that through your marketing materials. Then you want to link shows to your network, so that when they see the good materials and become aware of your show, they know where to find it. Recognizable titles help us majorly in one those three objectives, but then the shows have to win their way onto a schedule.
Q: Last year's new comedies, "The Grinder" and "Grandfathered" died after only one year. What is the future of FOX comedies?
A: Comedy is hard. There isn’t the same urgency to view it that you have with some of the serialized dramas or some of the dramas certainly being produced on OTT services or in cable. I think that part of the issue with comedy is that people are watching, they are just not watching in a seven day, with urgency manner that enables us to monetize them in the current broadcast model.
Q: Some fans were not happy with the quality of the short-run "X-Files" series. What happened?
A: The show was off the air for a very long time and was introduced to a variety of new viewers through OTT platforms. Notwithstanding that, there was still a lot of time to cover in these six episodes. So they had the challenge of filling in the mythology and explaining where the characters were and how they got to where they are at the start of the six episodes. I did read some negative reviews, and I also saw some glowing reviews. So, like with most shows, I thought it was very mixed.
Q: Why did you move "Pitch" from a mid-season launch to part of the fall schedule?
A: “Scandal” moved out of the time period, and there was an opportunity for us. “Pitch” is clearly going to be a show that’s strong with female viewers, and so the idea of putting it up against a juggernaut with female viewers like “Scandal” was not appealing to us. But, for a variety of reasons, fall is ideal for this show, MLB leading up to the playoffs. MLB has been a very good partner to us on that show. We used their marks, the uniforms. We have access to their stadiums.