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TV Column
Posted at 09:33 PM ET, 01/08/2012

Winter TV Press Tour 2012: ‘Allen Gregory’ out, ‘Terra Nova,’ ‘House’ in limbo


“Allen Gregory” (Fox - FOX)
Decisions on the future of Fox dino drama “Terra Nova,” doc drama “House,” paranormal drama “Fringe,” sitcom “I Hate My Teenage Daughter,” and even “X Factor” host Steve Jones are just around the corner, Fox programming chief Kevin Reilly came to Winter TV Press Tour 2012 on Sunday to reveal.

On the other hand, Reilly courageously announced he’d pulled the plug on animated comedy “Allen Gregory.”

“It’s hard to imagine the network without ‘House,’” Reilly told TV critics, who’d come with a laundry list of on-the-fence Fox shows their readers wanted to know about. That said, Reilly admitted “House” squeaked through to get on the schedule this season, given its rising costs and declining ratings.

Steven Spielberg’s super-pricey freshman series “Terra Nova,” “looked fantastic” but “creatively it was hunting” all season, Reilly acknowledged. But, he insisted, “We made money -- the studio made money” on the show.

(Interpretation: they’re trying to figure a way to do the show for a lot less money next season, and they want a second season because otherwise they’d have a really expensive set they got just one season out of– yikes!)

Anyway, Reilly said they won’t be able to drag their feet much longer on a decision, given the lead time needed for the show’s special effects.

Simon Cowell is still off somewhere “decompressing” after the strain of doing “X Factor’s” first U.S. season. But the minute Simon returns, he will begin to “tweak” the singing competition, Reilly said in answer to one critic’s questions as to whether he had noticed “America wants to vote off the host and one of the judges.” That would be, in order, Steve Jones and Nicole Scherzinger.

Asked if he was happy with the show’s ratings – it attracted about half as many viewers as Cowell had promised to deliver – Reilly began to boast that the show helped Fox improve its fall ratings 14 percent compared to last year – when Fox’s next big thing was “Lone Star,” remember. Where we come from that’s called “damning with faint praise.”

Reilly claimed he did not know what “tweaks” Cowell had in mind for “X Factor” but it’s a safe bet “new show host” is under serious consideration, given that Reilly said the big take away from the show’s first season is that hosting these live competition shows is harder than it looks and Ryan Seacrest is a genius. At one point Reilly said: “whether Steve’s the guy or not” hosting “X Factor.” Bye, bye, Steve Jones!

“We certainly want to keep him – it’s a deal issue,” Reilly said of current contract renewal talks with “American Idol” host Seacrest. He went so far as to reveal it’s a “tough negotiation” and that its conclusion is – right around the corner.

Speaking of “Idol,” Reilly took a break from all these hard questions to deliver his annual “I expect ‘Idol’ will be down this season, but mostly it’s due to the fact it’s a [fill in the age] year-old show.”

Duly noted.

How about that billion dollars the broadcast networks will be forking over to the NFL for football game broadcasts — at what point does football just become too expensive, one TV critic asked Reilly.

“It’s very hard to imagine the network without the NFL,” Reilly said. Fox is making money, Reilly said. Not necessarily on football — he just threw that out there, adding, “we don’t break out the cost of any individual product.”

But then, when asked about the prospects for another of his series, “Fringe,” Reilly said — besides that a decision was right around the corner — that it’s a pricey show and the network loses money on it and the network is not in the business of losing money. Then, sensing he’d said too much, Reilly begged the press in the room not to tell their readers to “start the letter writing campaign right now – I can’t take it!”

The crowd was growing pretty restless, what with Reilly dodging so many of their questions about their favorite shows. One big-hearted blogger decided to lob a softball question in Reilly’s direction, asking him about the future of Fox’s barely watched Sunday animated show “Allen Gregory.” In case you were lucky enough to miss it, “Allen Gregory” stars the voice of Jonah Hill as a precocious little moppet you want to smack so hard it jolts his grandchildren.

“We will not be making any more Allen Gregory,” Reilly said decisively, looking like a captain of industry.

Wikipedia immediately updated its “Allen Gregory” listing: “The series premiered on October 30, 2011. The series was officially cancelled on January 8, 2012.”

This was more like it! Encouraged TV critics and bloggers asked him about the future of another super-low rated new Fox comedy, the multi-camera-and-laugh-track comedy, “I Hate My Teenage Daughter.”

In the blink of an eye, Reilly ceased to be a captain of industry, and became a teenaged chick begging her boyfriend not to dump her.

“It’s such a difficult format when it’s out of context,” Reilly pleaded. He noted CBS also has put “plenty of stinkers” on its Monday sitcom block. He reminded critics they were not in love with CBS’s “Big Bang Theory” either when it first hit the airwaves, but now they are. “So don’t pile on” the hate against “I Hate My Teenage Daughter,” Reilly said, urging them to give it “a little bit of slack.”

Speaking of begging, TV critics sought word of “Glee” graduates Lea Michele, Chris Colfer and Cory Monteith, after this season on the musical comedy series. Yes, they will be graduated, but there will be no spinoff, as creator Ryan Murphy had once promised, Reilly said. On the other hand, he added Murphy has a “really cool idea” for the graduates, that “gives us something cool to dig into next season.”

“That’s all I can say about it,” he said, causing one TV critic to shout from the back of the room, asking whether Michele would be back on the show next season.

“Yeah, she will be…still part of the show -- in some way,” Reilly responded coyly.

By  |  09:33 PM ET, 01/08/2012

 
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