When Fox’s executives face reporters during the network’s portion of the winter TV Critics Association press tour on Sunday, the futures of two series — freshman Terra Nova and veteran House — are expected to be a popular topic (along with the survival chances of low-rated cult favorite Fringe of course). The producers of Terra Nova and House were hoping to find out whether their shows are being renewed by end of December. (House creator David Shore has been vocal about needing time to end the series properly if this indeed is its final season.) That didn’t happen, but Fox brass are pressed to make a decision quickly, especially in the case of Terra Nova, which has to go into production by April in order to be ready for fall. And what a difficult decision it is going to be as the network will have to make it in a vacuum. Three of Fox’s four new drama series this season, or 75%, have yet to premiere. And the network’s drama pilot scripts are only now starting to come in. So the network, which doesn’t have many drama slots open, may have to make a decision on two hourlong series before the debut of the majority of its freshman dramas and before it has seen its drama development for next season. Things may get a little bit clearer in the next three weeks, when midseason dramas Alcatraz and The Finder will premiere and Touch will get a preview ahead of its March debut. Still, committing to new seasons of two modestly rated existing series so early with so many unknowns is risky. Which means that Fox may try to hold off until the last possible minute to make a call on Terra Nova and House, with Terra Nova at the moment appearing more likely to be renewed.
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