Ahead of Fox’s dog-and-pony shows for media buyers Monday afternoon, the Fox broadcast network’s top executives found themselves in the hot seat.
At issue is what one reporter described as a “tonal shift” in Fox’s comedy brand, with the network all but wiping clean its serialized, single-camera, live-action brand (see cancellations for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Last Man on Earth and The Mick) coupled with the addition of three new multicamera half-hours, including the revival of Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing. The latter, produced by the network’s sibling studio, had been canceled by rival ABC a year earlier.
While Fox TV Group chairman and CEO Gary Newman suggested “tonal shift” was too strong a descriptor, he and his partner, Dana Walden, acknowledged that they were emboldened by the breakout success of ABC’s multicam reboot Roseanne. "Obviously everyone took a good hard look at the performance of [that show]," said Walden, who added: "It certainly did remind us that we have a huge comedy star in Tim Allen." And with the addition of Thursday Night Football, which will occupy more than 30 hours of programming on Fox’s forthcoming schedule and serve as a key launchpad for new and returning fare, the team had been looking for programming with a lower barrier to entry. To that end, Walden noted that they are still mulling the future of L.A. to Vegas, which is more close-ended than its other single-cam fare and thus more appealing in the opportunities it presents.
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