Fox has been stocking up with series Shots Fired, a Prison Break event series, a Mark Burnett dating series, along with a number of pilots, including 24: Legacy, without Jack Bauer, a Dan Fogelman baseball drama and a Lord/Miller time-traveling comedy.
“We’ll need more shows than usual to fill those hours,” said Fox Chairman Dana Walden. Added Chairman Gary Newman, who, along with Walden, took over the network a year and a half ago. “We’re still in rebuilding mode.”
Newman and Walden acknowledged the ratings challenges the network continues to face, despite the blockbuster success of hip-hop drama Empire. Some of the new series the network introduced in the fall underperformed, including Minority Report and Scream Queens. But while Scream Queens might have been dragging down Fox’s linear ratings averages, Newman took it as an example of a show that has excelled in VOD viewing, leading to its second-season renewal.
“Scream Queens viewership grew by more than 125% when time-shifted viewing options were factored in,” Newman said. “Only 30% of its total audience watched the show live on Tuesday nights. Some 26% watched it via DVR and another 44% watched via streaming or VOD options including authenticated access via Hulu and FoxNow. That all adds up to 62% of viewing coming outside the same-day window — which means that the overnight ratings only capture one-third of total viewing. These are very meaningful audiences for us.
Newman stressed that VOD viewing is monetized but noted that “monetizing the non‑Nielsen‑rated viewing remains a challenge” but things are improving.
As for a suggestion by a critic that Empire might have “lost its way a little bit” in Season 2, Newman was quick to respond: “If that show is off creatively, we’d like all of our shows to be off creatively. It’s the No. 1 show in broadcast.”
Heading to The X-Files premiere on January 24, Newman said they are “absolutely” on board for another installment. “The biggest impediment to going forward with The X-Files is the schedule of David (Duchovny) and Gillian (Anderson) and, to an extent, creator Chris (Carter). Gillian is committed to other projects right now. David’s schedule is always busy, but even the other night at the premiere, we were all laughing and joking that we would love to do this again. So we would be on board if schedules can be worked out.”