Flanked by two larges screens that read “RIP Pilot Season, 1986-2013,” Fox Entertainment Topper Kevin Reilly told reporters today that the network will ditch the traditional development season from fall to winter and focus more on developing series year-round.
“The broadcasting development and scheduling system was built in a different era, when there were three networks monopolizing all the talent and all the audience,” Reilly told reporters Monday. Typically, he added, the networks currently make 80 to 100 pilots in the course of a few months, which ends up diluting the talent pool and a show’s chances of going the distance.
“We screen them and schedule them, and they’re announced in a compressed and crazy 2-week period, he continued. “They have six weeks to get into production. It’s nothing short of a miracle that talent can produce anything of quality. Every first season show needs a course correction.”
Developing throughout the year “creates a better, more talent-friendly way” to cultivate potential hits. As an example, Reilly cited nine shows that the network currently has in the works, including the 24 reboot and the American version of Broadchurch that’s called Gracepoint. In the meantime, current shows like Sleepy Hollow will begin production on their second season in two months, not July when dramas typically return to work. “We’ll be way ahead of everybody else.”