Fox decided to shake things up in its upfront presentation today. After talking about the increasing portion of viewing of Fox shows being time-shifted, Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly threw out the traditional night-by-night lineup presentation for the first time in favor of introducing the network’s new shows by genre.
First off was comedy, which made for unfavorable comparisons to the comedic banter with which Reilly and head of sales Toby Byrne opened the presentation. Among the more serious exchanges, Byrne acknowledged that after eight seasons on top, “we slipped a bit,” with Reilly responding that “I’m confident we will be back at No. 1 next season.”
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Always high on star power, the network brought onstage the stars of all of its new comedies and actors from all returning ones to a big applause. After a shtick between New Girl‘s Max Greenfield — who found an opportunity to show off his biceps — and Reilly, Reilly screened trailers for the network’s five new comedy series, with Andy Samberg’s cop show Brooklyn Nine-Nine getting very big applause.
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More banter, this time seemingly unscripted and awkwardly funny, came during the introduction by Reilly of a potpourri of Fox reality stars onstage. “Where is Randy”? Simon Cowell asked. Responded Ryan Seacrest, “Ask Kevin,” with Reilly standing next to him. Cowell would not discuss new judges addition to The X Factor, which is launching auditions in two weeks, noting that there will be some changes to the format next season.
Fox’s drama package highlights breakout The Following, and the audience approves. Star Kevin Bacon, onstage alongside the stars of Fox’s new and returning shows, received the biggest ovation of the presentation. Greg Kinnear, who was tasked with introducing Fox’s new drama clip package, also drew largely positive reaction to his new drama Rake.
As expected, Reilly officially announced the 24 limited series 24: Live Another Day — but no appearance from star Kiefer Sutherland. In a clip introducing his limited series Wayward Pines, M. Night Shyamalan announced that it will be 10 episodes. Closing out the presentation was Seth MacFarlane’s Cosmos reboot, which is well on track. “Before there was Downton Abbey, the biggest thing to happen on PBS was Cosmos,” Reilly said. Added MacFarlane, “I want to make it so flashy and entertaining that people who have no interest in science will watch for the spectacle.”