Kevin Reilly, the chief of Fox Entertainment and the man mainly responsible for overseeing shows such as The X Factor, Glee, American Idol, and the Animation Domination programming block, has reportedly hit out against people in a similar position to him in the network food chain, accusing channel executives such as himself as ‘having our heads up our asses’.
Speaking at the ‘Hollywood Radio and TV Society: State of Broadcast’ panel in Los Angeles (USA), Reilly claimed that with DVR and online streaming becoming increasingly popular (identified as a ‘massive shift’ in viewing habits) as opposed to linear schedules, particularly for entertainment shows, executives should be thinking more about the audience ‘as a whole’ rather than just on TV ratings.
He stated: “We have our heads up our asses. We don’t spend enough time thinking of the consumer in the chain, we think about the audience in a clump. If you ask execs how they watch TV, they’re either not watching a particular product or they just watched five seasons on Netflix. So, why is (this exec) any different than anyone at home? We are way too obsessed with one another and not with the consumer. [The] collective thinking [of executives regarding programming release]… has to evolve.”
Also noting that people in executive positions across the networks that were “way too obsessed with one another and not with the consumer,” Reilly noted that Fox have some big plans for future developments to amend the problems that he has spoken about, including a decision to trial alternative methods away from the ’22 episodes a season’ format.
New shows that could begin life in a test of new broadcasting arrangements are currently unconfirmed, with the only new series announced from the network so far being 24-style horror drama The Following (a 15-part series starring Kevin Bacon), though renewals to ‘safe’ shows on Fox can probably be expected before the next TV season. Reilly added of one such show, American Idol, and its future prospects: “I think Idol will take a long, graceful descent into maturity. [However], it would have been longer if it weren’t for these other shows [such as The Voice (on NBC) and The X Factor].”
Shining a light on what many critics already believe about the general opinion of network executives, will Reilly’s words inspire any changes to the way that TV shows are promoted and aired, or will none of the networks be willing to take unnecessary risks?