Program ownership was in full force this past development season, with the broadcast networks buying heavily from their sister studios. Fox was a prime example of that — out of 12 pilots picked up by the network, all but one came from sister studio 20th TV. All newly picked-up Fox scripted series for this coming season are from 20th TV.
Fox chairman Dana Walden contends that what happened last season was not part of a trend but rather an anomaly. “We developed probably 75 or 80 percent of our own shows last year,” she said at TCA. “It was a somewhat anomalous year. There was need, but our counterparts at the other networks also had needs that they were satisfying by their own in-house production companies, so I would say that we responded to the market and to what was brought into us.”
She pointed to the four scripted series Fox has from outside studios — Warner Bros. TV dramas Gotham, Lucifer and Lethal Weapon and Universal TV comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine — as well as series 20th TV produces for other networks, including This Is Us for NBC, Speechless for ABC and Life in Pieces for CBS.
“I think one year does not determine really a trend,” she said. “There were circumstances that existed this past year that made everyone rely on themselves for a year.”
Overall, “we don’t approach it so precisely, we’re open to any great pitch,” Walden said, noting that this summer, the Fox network already had taken pitches from Warner Bros. TV and Universal TV. “We’re looking for best pitches, not 20% outside and 80% in-house; it’s juts kind of how everything turnout last season.”