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TCA Report: Fox President Talks 'Glee' Controversy and Spinoff

Date August 05, 2011
Glee The 'Glee' spinoff is not quite dead, but don't look for a decision on it any time soon.

That was the main news that came from the Fox executive session at the Television Critics Association press tour, which consisted of entertainment president Kevin Reilly fielding questions from the media for about 45 minutes.

Though Reilly said he didn't want...

Glee The 'Glee' spinoff is not quite dead, but don't look for a decision on it any time soon.

That was the main news that came from the Fox executive session at the Television Critics Association press tour, which consisted of entertainment president Kevin Reilly fielding questions from the media for about 45 minutes.

Though Reilly said he didn't want to give the recent 'Glee' controversy any more exposure by talking about it, he was asked about it repeatedly. There many questions about how 'Glee' executive producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk handled the crisis. (A brief refresher: Murphy said in an interview that three actors were leaving the show, some of the actors said they found out about that via Twitter, then Falchuk and Murphy said no one was leaving the show but essentially blamed the media for everything that went wrong). But Reilly refused to critique the producers' handling of the story in recent weeks.

Reilly and Murphy had discussed the possibility of a spin-off, and Murphy "probably regrets talking about it" to the Hollywood Reporter a few weeks ago, Reilly said.

"In the interim, we had decided to focus this year on this season" of the Fox musical and not make any decision on the spinoff until the "back half of the season," Reilly said.

The story "has taken on more heat and momentum" than it should have, Reilly said. Well, whatever Reilly thinks, I think Daniel Fienberg of Hitfix was right to call Falchuck and Murphy to account for throwing the respected reporter for the Hollywood Reporter under the bus, and to press Falchuck on why he said at Comic-Con that he "didn't know" where the writer got her information -- which came directly from Murphy himself.

Speaking of throwing people under the bus, Reilly refused to do that to the 'Glee' producers, not surprisingly. "All of us were surprised it took on a life of its own," he said of the 'Glee' story. "In the grand scheme of producing television, this is not a big controversy.

He said that in the beginning of the upcoming season, the show would not feature a lot of high-profile guest stars and tribute numbers. "You're going to see back to basics this year," Reilly said. The show's core characters will be "focused" and characters will get "clean arcs" and emotional storylines.

If 'Glee' shows any kind of internal consistency and/or real devotion to character growth for more than 10 minutes at a time this season, I will be so shocked and surprised that I might just throw myself under a bus. We'll see.

In any event, the spinoff is still a possibility, Reilly said, but no decision on that will be made until some time next year. And he confirmed that three characters will graduate this season. News reports have said the three are played by Chris Colfer, Lea Michele and Cory Monteith, but Reilly wouldn't comment on who'll be graduating.

Reilly was asked if he had a talk with Murphy about how the writer/producer planned to stay focused on 'Glee' and also run his new FX show, 'American Horror Story.' "Even if I had the talk, he wouldn't listen anyway," Reilly said with a laugh. But he noted that 'Glee's' writing staff has expanded quite a bit and 'American Horror Story' has its own writing and producing staff, so he didn't foresee a problem with Murphy working on both shows.

In other Fox news, he said he could not confirm whether the upcoming season of 'House' is the final one for the medical drama. He did say those talks would take place with the show's producers later this year, and that everyone wanted to make sure the show didn't overstay its welcome and "limp along" for too many seasons (pun presumably intended).

As for 'Fringe,' he expressed strong approval of the show's creative direction and said that the Fox executive team was "cheering" Fringe's ratings performance on Friday nights last season.

"One of the good things about having a strong network is that you can support creative shows that deserve to be on the air," Reilly said. (If only he'd called TNT executives to express that thought when 'Men of a Certain Age's' future was in doubt. Sigh).

"I don't expect 'Fringe' to grow. It's a complex show," Reilly said. "If 'Fringe' can do exactly what it did last year, we're going to be very, very happy with it."

The last bit of Fox news: Fox is going to re-examine its non-animated comedy block later this season, and if it needs another show in that two-hour block, 'Breaking In' might be revived from its currently canceled status.

Reviving a corpse? That sounds likes something that would happen on 'Fringe.'

Read more http://www.aoltv.com/2011/08/05/tca-report-fox-president-glee-controversy-spinoff/

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