Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Programming Buzz from Zenith: 2012-2013 FOX Development Meeting

2012-2013 FOX Development Meeting

Last week, FOX held its annual programming development meeting for key advertisers at News Corp.’s headquarters in NYC. Kevin Reilly, President of FOX Entertainment presented the network’s 2012-2013 development slate.

Following a number of viewership stats touting the 11/12 season thus far, Reilly launched into FOX’s comedy agenda, a big initiative for the network next year. With the success of New Girl, FOX plans to premiere no less than four new comedies, pairing them with current programs (Glee, Raising Hope and New Girl). A focus on young ensemble casts and family relationships has spearheaded much of comedy development. Reilly stated moderate-performing Raising Hope is a quality family comedy that he expects to improve if combined with another compatible family sitcom. From Emmy-nominated Mindy Kaling, writer, producer and actress of The Office, Mindy is a romantic comedy set in a medical practice about an OB/GYN doctor (Kaling), who succeeds in her career, but not her love life, receiving little help from her colleagues and friends. According to Reilly, he’d ideally like to pair Mindy with New Girl. Following the theme of young adult ensembles is Rebounding. Executive produced by Steve Levitan of Modern Family fame, the comedy revolves around a group of friends who rally around Danny (Will Forte) after his fiancĂ©e suddenly dies.

Featuring the trials and tribulations of family relationships, FOX has a number of comedies in the pipeline. From producer Dana Fox (New Girl), Ben Fox Is My Manny is a sibling relationship about an irresponsible brother who moves in with his younger sister to help raise her five-year-old daughter. Abby Elliot (SNL) is committed to star in this project. Goodwin Games follows three siblings who have grown apart, but come together to claim their father’s $20 million inheritance. Speaking from the grave, the father has made claiming the money a game, hoping to rebuild the siblings’ relationships. Scott Foley (Felicity) and Becky Newton (Ugly Betty) are set to star. Comedy pilot, Little Brother, provides a different perspective, as a recently incarcerated man moves in with his long lost brother (John Stamos) and family to try and turn his life around.

Switching to parental relationships, Like Father centers on Van (Colin Ferguson), a father of a 19-year-old son who has always been more of a peer with a frat boy mentality than a father figure, that follows his son to college after his mother passes away. Mike O’Malley (Glee) stars as the father in Prodigy Bully, about a 11-year-old boy genius who grew up in a working class neighborhood and is enrolled in a gifted school with very sheltered and upper class prodigy students.

Reviewing recent dramas this season, O’Reilly discussed the potential for freshman series, Alcatraz, to return next season as well as their anticipation over Touch, which previewed in January with its regular run scheduled to begin this Thursday (3/22/12). Looking to fill Monday nights in the absence of House and Terra Nova next year, FOX has an aggressive slate of high impact, action dramas in development. Rogue comes from Brett Ratner, about a 14 year old girl named Jane who moves in with an assassin after her CIA operative father is killed in action. Part action-spy drama and part coming-of-age tale, Rogue follows Jane as she acclimates to life at her new high school, while also participating in CIA missions. The drama stars Julian McMahon and Angela Bassett. Also providing a CIA storyline is The Asset, featuring Ali Larter (Heros) as Anna, a photojournalist and undercover CIA agent who will go to great lengths to accomplish an assignment. Noting the return of Kevin Bacon to network television, FOX is developing Mastermind, a new thriller created and executive produced by Kevin Williamson (Scream, Dawson’s Creek). Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) is a serial killer who has escaped from prison just before his scheduled execution. Authorities call on former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Bacon) for help as he was the one who originally tracked down and caught Carroll nine years ago.

Crossing the line between medical and crime drama, Mob Doctor centers around a Chicago cardiothoracic surgeon (Jordana Spiro) who is indebted to the mob to pay off her brother’s life-threatening gambling debts. By day she a well-renowned leading surgeon in her field, but by night she provides medical care to the mafia under dangerous circumstances. Transitioning to the legal world in pilots, Cuba Gooding Jr. stars as Billy Weston, a top corporate attorney in Guilty, who is disbarred after being framed. After assembling a group of renegade attorneys, Weston and his associates work both inside and outside the courtroom to help clients. McG is credited as an executive producer and directs the pilot episode.

Among alternative programming, FOX is taking advantage of its leader status among animation, providing an animation block on Saturday nights from 11pm-12:30am beginning in January 2013. Coined Animation Domination HD (AD/HD) and headed by former Adult Swim exec, Nick Weidenfield, the unit will develop and air original animated shorts and series on the linear channel, while also making content available online. With The X-Factor returning, there is little need for reality content, with O’Reilly only reviewing one unscripted series, Take Me Out. Based on a popular U.K. format, Take Me Out is a game-show style dating competition program where one man is given the chance to make a positive first impression among 30 women. However, it is the man that gets final say on who he plans to take on a dream date. The show is planned to launch this summer.

The Zenith Media Research Team will continue to monitor future development meetings and Upfront announcements with the latest information on the upcoming 2012-2013 season.

posted by Strategic Resources @ Zenithmedia at 12:39 PM


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