As part of the TCA Press Tour presentation for Fox, Co-Chairman and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman took some time to talk about new and returning programming, and what could possibly be to come. Along with the announcement of a pilot director for Minority Report and some casting tidbits for Scream Queens, the most surprising part of the conversation was about which properties could have a resurgence.
During the interview, they spoke about having Mark Mylod sign on to direct the Minority Report pilot, no current plans for more 24 but the ongoing desire to do more, an interest in bringing back The X-Files and Prison Break in an event-series format, who is expected to appear in the comic-horror anthology Scream Queens, the possibility of more Bones, making Sleepy Hollow less serialized, and why Red Band Society didn’t pull in the viewership they hoped for. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
GARY NEWMAN: Our first pilot order was Minority Report, based on the movie produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. We are excited to announce that Mark Mylod has agreed to direct this pilot. Mark has directed such amazing pilots as The Affair, Once Upon a Time, Shameless, and our own Backstrom, and we think he will knock this out of the park.
Do you have any future plans for 24?
NEWMAN: With 24, we have no current plans, although we’re in discussions with the creative team there – Howard Gordon, Manny Coto and Evan Katz. We would love nothing more than to do another 24, so that’s a constant focus for us.
24 was a successful reboot of a show that you brought back. Do you have any other plans to bring back any past studio properties in the event-series format?
NEWMAN: We have nothing that we can announce, at this time. It’s been reported and it’s true that we’ve had some conversations on The X-Files. We are hopeful of being able to bring that back, at some point. There is some speculation in the press about Prison Break, which, honestly, was news to us, although we’ve made it clear, over the years, at the studio that we would bring that back in a heartbeat. It’s probably the perfect event series. So, if our old partners in that show are getting interested, that would be great. But at the moment, we have nothing else to report.
NEWMAN: When we took this job in August, our very first call was to Ryan Murphy, and we begged him to come back to network TV. As you know, Ryan had been having quite a bit of success in cable with American Horror Story and was developing American Crime Story, which will premiere on FX next year. But, Ryan didn’t disappoint. He came up with a killer idea, with Scream Queens, which is a comic-horror anthology. And in his capable hands, and with his partners from Glee – Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan – it is going to be outrageous and amazing. We’ve already announced Jamie Lee Curtis and Emma Roberts, and we’re pleased to announce Lea Michele, Joe Manganiello, Abigail Breslin and Keke Palmer, and Ariana Grande will guest star.
What is going on with Bones and Sleepy Hollow, in terms of pick-ups?
DANA WALDEN: Frankly, we’re in conversation on both. For Bones, we are at the end of our deal with Emily [Deschanel] and David [Boreanaz]. We have started conversations with them and we’re very hopeful that Bones will return. We can’t announce it today because deals aren’t closed, but we love the show. It’s been so meaningful to the studio, and nothing would make us happier than to do another year. And with Sleepy Hollow, we’re going to wait a little bit longer. We’re excited about some creative changes on the show, which will bring it back to something that feels a little bit more episodic in nature and that has closure, and doesn’t feel quite so serialized. But, we really love the show. We love Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie. They have fantastic chemistry. We feel like it’s a really unique series, and I’m hopeful it will come back, as well.
WALDEN: We are responding a little bit, but not necessarily to the criticism. The show has a very high level of difficulty. It’s a relationship show, it’s a period show, and it’s a contemporary show. You have iconic characters, and you are trying to tell mysteries and build a mythology. The show got a little overly serialized, this past season. It’s very difficult, on a show like this, to hit the exact right balance of procedural storytelling, and ongoing character relationships and mythology. We felt, honestly, just watching the show as passionate viewers, and as partners on the show, that it got a little too serialized, and all of the creators and executive producers acknowledge that. So, as part of our diagnostic process on any show, we look at it and tried to determine what was working and what wasn’t working. There’s still a lot about it that works extraordinarily well. We are trying to return the fun to it a little bit. It’s an epic battle of good and evil, so that has a tendency to want to get a little bit dark. It’s all about calibrating the show, and not making dramatic changes.
Why do you think Red Band Society ultimately just didn’t work?
NEWMAN: We really fell in love with that show when we got to the network. It was a challenging show. The show is set in a hospital, but wasn’t really about medical cases, as much as it was about coming of age for these patients. The creative team there did a great job. The show felt soulful and truthful, and it felt like there was integrity to it. It just didn’t resonate on our air with the audience, in the way we would have hoped. We did go to our partners over at ABC Studios and offer them an opportunity to do some additional episodes and put the show on this summer. We told them it required them restructuring how they do the show, so they could do it for a lower cost because we would need to pay a lower license fee. And they looked at it and ultimately decided that it just didn’t make sense for them. I can’t really comment too much on their process. We didn’t get that deeply inside their decision, but they were pretty firm when they came back to us. So, that was a disappointment because it was just one of those shows that we hoped could be given the time to find an audience.