Dialogue: Kevin Reilly, Fox Entertainment president


Related: Pilot Package: Will the strike's mark be permanent?

More pilot season coverage

The Hollywood Reporter:
It's going to be more than a year from the time you started at Fox until your own scripted schedule is on the air. Has all that run-up time offered any advantages?
Kevin Reilly: It offered an immediate disadvantage in terms of throwing the brakes on, but I did hit the ground running. My first day on the job we talked about a writers strike and my marching orders were "go-go-go." So we did put a lot of product into production.

THR: Do you now wish you had picked up fewer series orders prestrike?
Reilly: No, I'm really happy we did that aggressively. Several of them are coming together really well. I'm looking to create as strong of headwind -- and tailwind -- for us after first of next year.

THR: Prestrike, you ordered several shows direct to series. Post-strike, you've ordered pilots. What is Fox's strategy moving forward?
Reilly: Any and everything goes. Meaning there are certain projects we will continue to pilot on, some we will do multiple scripts, some we will go direct to series off concept. Pilots still have a place in the universe.

THR: What is the theme of your development lineup?
Reilly: I didn't come in with any overall theme, just to stay on brand for Fox. Fox still has nosier, bolder and forward-thinking shows and that's certainly what I'd like to do in both comedy and drama. Looking for that next "That '70s Show," the next "Malcolm (in the Middle])" and bring young comedy loyalists back to the network.

THR: Your pilots include several A-list creators and some expensive projects. Has Fox's ratings front-runner success allowed the network to expand its scripted budget?
Reilly: We haven't had a lot of talk about cost cuttings ... we're shying away from any public pronouncements. We are getting away from a one-size-fits-all model, which is not to say we won't have a couple tentpole shows.

THR: What are your goals for the fourth quarter, traditionally a slow period for Fox?
Reilly: This year we felt like we finally perfected the model Fox has tinkered with since the beginning of the network. We finally got the baseball package right, the right combination of games. The ad buying community has gotten comfortable with the fall not being our high water mark, but we can still maintain stability across the network.

THR: Are you looking to go head-to-head with other networks during premiere week?
Reilly: We're looking at a couple different things; we're not necessarily locked into premiere week.

THR: Among Fox's freshman shows, "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" and "Back To You" are expected to come back next fall. Any others viewers shouldn't count out?
Reilly: They're really the lead candidates at this point. We've already started staffing on 'Sarah Connor.' Although it was an unusual season, it will end up finishing by far and away the strongest new drama of the season. Other shows have not gotten the traction. Just because competition is softer doesn't mean audience has to watch a show.

THR: Any movement on launching a late-night talk show?
Reilly: Nothing in the short term. It's never off the agenda. It's going to be focus of mine.