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How low can American Idol go? What’s the deal with that long-rumored 24 movie? And are we really supposed to hold out for another season Simon Cowell‘s The X Factor?
These and many other questions were fair game Monday as Fox kicked off the broadcast portion of the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour. After several days of cable panels, the News Corp.-owned broadcast network trotted out a coterie of producers (Seth MacFarlane, Howard Gordon, Bill Lawrence) and stars (Jennifer Lopez, Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland) as it looked to promote its spring lineup.
1. 24: Live Another Day could, well, live another day. Three years after 24 ended its run on Fox, the Suthlerland starrer returns as a miniseries — but it’s not the same script that existed with the buzzed about feature film. Producers Howard Gordon, Evan Katz and Manny Coto stressed that if the 12-episode mini — bowing May 5 — is successful, the series could continue on TV and, yes, potentially film. “If this ends up rebooting the show and causes a film to be made, so be it,” Suthlerland said of the revival, which has the Edward Snowden and drones flap as a backdrop.
2. Rake‘s Peter Tolan is really funny. Asked about what it was like to return to broadcast TV following years on cable’s Rescue Me, the exec producer pulled out his journal and “read” a few passages, which included a hilarious digs at Fox’s critically-panned comedy Dads sitting atop the network notes about what not to talk about, star Kinnear showing up drunk and with a hooker for the first day of production and that hooker signing at CAA, where she’d be “one whore among many.” Of course, this comes two years after Tolan dropped his pants during FX’s Rescue Me, so we should have known something was coming.
3. RIP, Pilot Season. Following years of trying to move past the traditional broadcast calendar, Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly declared that the network is “officially bypassing pilot season.” Instead, Fox will focus on series — rather than pilots — throughout the year as the network shifts to a year-round schedule using 24‘s return as a springboard for new series debuting in May.
4. Bright futures for Bones, The Mindy Project and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Reilly stressed that the ratings for the sophomore comedy The Mindy Project were not where he would like them to be, but he’s nonetheless “bullish” on a third-season renewal, care of the series’ upscale viewership and editorial potential. Also likely back: newly-minted Golden Globe winner Brooklyn Nine-Nine and veteran procedural Bones, which is being eyed for a 10th and final season.
5. Randy Jackson’s new American Idol role revealed. The former judge will now host a two-day workshop where competitors who advance to the live shows receive tutelage on song choices and personal style, among other subjects. Oh, and the new crop of judges get along. For real this time, they promise.
6. The potential for Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. More than three decades after the debut of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, MacFarlane, Ann Druyan and astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson will roll out a series about space and the nature of the universe on a broadcast network in March — and they’re confident that a broad audience will enjoy it. MacFarlane, a self-proclaimed science geek, noted the series will feature heavy CGI as well as animation from his Family Guy team. Bonus: DeGrasse Tyson ripped into Gravity, again.
7. The Following will be less violent. A year after fielding questions about violence on television in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, showrunner Kevin Williamson said the Kevin Bacon drama will focus instead on the psychological element between Ryan Hardy and James Purefoy‘s Joe Carroll.
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