If you’re waiting for “X Factor” to return, don’t hold your breath.
Fox Television Group Chairman and CEO Gary Newman told TheWrap he has “no plans” to resurrect the singing competition series. Although he does hope to bring the show’s creator Simon Cowell back to Fox.
“We have talked about a variety of things including competition shows,” Newman said. “I think what Simon and we feel similarly about, is that the show needs to have a reason for being,” Newman said.
“Clearly, singing competitions are pretty well played out,” he added. “We’re not going to move forward with a show like that — nor would Simon — unless we really felt that we cracked something that felt new and different.”
Newman discussed the network’s future with TheWrap in a far-ranging interview following his appearance with fellow Fox TV Group boss Dana Walden at the network’s Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour panel last week. In the panel, the duo spoke about replacing Simon Andreae atop their reality realm, as well as the possible returns of “X-Files,” “24” and maybe even “Prison Break.”
Struggling first-year sitcom “Mulaney” also probably isn’t returning to the schedule. “Realistically, I think it’s unlikely at this stage that the audience is all of a sudden going to find it and be able to justify picking it up,” Newman said.
Still, the executive hopes to stay in business with star John Mulaney and executive producer Lorne Michaels. Newman strongly believes in sticking with talent over the long haul and being patient seeing the return on investment.
“I think we were in business with Steve Levitan for eight years before ‘Modern Family,'” he cited as an example. “We were tens of millions of dollars behind on Steve before him and Chris Lloyd made it up with one mighty swing.”
Speaking of home runs, Newman’s new smash “Empire” came out of the gate very strong, a performance that didn’t surprise him at all. He said he knew what he had in “Empire” early on: “If we get this right, this is a hit.”
“Empire” — which has already been renewed for a second season — is not only getting great ratings and has been strong across social media, it also offers business opportunities that other properties do not.
“There will be a stream of revenue in music,” Newman said. “Truthfully, it is not likely to be enormous — just the way it works, with the amount of music in the show — but it probably has as much value from a marketing standpoint as a revenue standpoint.”
From the first episode alone, “Empire” scored two spots on the iTunes Top 100 chart. With Sony as its music partner, Fox splits that revenue with it and the Apple music service. But while the somewhat small pie is sliced several ways, there is also future money to be made from the episodes themselves, though the serialized nature of the show makes it less likely to be a big syndication smash.
“The greater likelihood is a big SVOD [deal],” Newman added about subscription video-on-demand. “I’m pretty bullish about it.”
And that’s not the only property that Newman has high hopes for; some of the buzziest possible Fox titles come from the past.
“I’m optimistic on both ‘X-Files’ and ’24,'” Newman elaborated on their possible returns. “I think ‘Prison Break’ is a little bit of a longer shot right now.”
“Manny and Evan and Howard have a great idea for ’24’ that they’ve pitched out to us,” Newman continued on the Kiefer Sutherland vehicle, which Walden earlier admitted may not star Jack Bauer in its next iteration. “I think that it probably doesn’t happen fast, because they’re all working on other things, but I think that that is a story that really we’d love to have them tell.”
“‘X-Files’ is really a lot about scheduling,” Newman concluded. “David [Duchovny] and Gillian [Anderson] are committed to other things. We’re really only interested in having them come and reprise their roles, but [creator] Chris [Carter] wants to do it, and I really think David and Gillian want to do it, so I’m going to be optimistic and hope that is happens.”