Gary Newman has a lot to celebrate with “This Is Us,” the family drama his Fox studio has helped turn into a smash hit for NBC.
As for some of the recent dramas on the Fox network itself, such as “Pitch” and “The Exorcist” – well, stay tuned.
“This Is Us” just logged another series ratings record this week for NBC, but Fox is clearly struggling with some of its own network dramas, including “Pitch” with newcomer Kylie Bunbury as a female Major League Baseball star.
“We would have loved to have seen a bigger audience,” Newman, Chairman and CEO of the Fox Television Group, told reporters Wednesday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, referring to “Pitch.” Fox aired 10 episodes earlier this season but has yet to make a decision about renewal.
“We liked that the show was about something, it was very specific,” Newman added. “I don’t think the [ratings] performance level allowed us to make an early decision about it.” The question, he added, is “do we have a place on our schedule where we can grow it?” As the network ponders its fall schedule announcement in May, Newman said, executives will consider the case for “Pitch.”
The same purgatory awaits “The Exorcist,” a TV version of the horror movie franchise starring Geena Davis, which has delivered so-so numbers.
“Both shows, we can’t make decisions on yet,” Fox Entertainment President David Madden told reporters.
As for “This Is Us,” Newman said Fox executives had weighed keeping the show on their network, but ultimately believed that it was a better fit for NBC, which had scored success with similarly toned family dramas such as “Parenthood” and “Friday Night Lights.” Of course, Fox’s studio will enjoy returns on the library value of the series for years to come.
The lesson of the show’s success, he added, was to “let your writers tell a personal story.”
Madden also said that Fox continued to pursue live theatrical events, even though the network saw mediocre results from its recent adaptation of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” this season.
“We had hoped to be sitting here announcing our next live theatrical event,” Madden said, although the deal could not come together in time. “We believe live theatrical is a big part of television.”