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Fox to end pilot season

Fox in the US is to end the traditional pilot system of developing shows and move towards a model more akin to cable, chairman of entertainment Kevin Reilly has said.

Speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour, Reilly slammed the current pilot season model saying it was “nothing short of a miracle that the talent is able to produce anything of quality in that environment.”

Reilly said he wanted to end the “highly inefficient” pilot season, when numerous single episodes get made only for the vast majority never to make it onto schedules. Instead he wants to focus on fewer shows with more chance of success and develop new series on a year-round basis.

The Fox exec also outlined the increased flexibility that a revamped pilot season could have, allowing lead characters to be recast and more opportunity for shows to be developed and marketed. He also said he was looking to order drama series with fewer episodes.

Fox, which currently has 10 shows in development including Broadchurch remake Gracepoint and Batman spin-off Gotham, will not order pilots during the next development season – instead working on new shows throughout the year.

Meanwhile Fox has set its sights on developing new comedy shows after inking a multi-year deal with Lonely Island, the group that produced online content that featured on Saturday Night Live.

The agreement will see the comedy-focused group develop shows for the web and via services such as Hulu, which can then also be shown on 21st Century Fox-owned TV channels including Fox, FX and FXX.

Fox previously entered a similar venture with YouTube channel Wigs to develop new drama programming, and has also launched a latenight animation block on the channel called Animation Domination High-Def that features online content.


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