Hollywood Bracing for Wave of Trump-Inspired TV Pitches, Fox Boss Says

TCA 2017: “Among the community of writers working in Hollywood, few would have believed” election would have turned out as it did, Gary Newman says

Last Updated: January 11, 2017 @ 3:32 PM

If you haven’t had enough of the real Donald Trump, don’t worry. Fictionalized versions of him may be flooding your TV screens soon enough.

The boss of the Fox Television Group, which produces fare ranging from “This Is Us” to “The Simpsons,” predicts that pitch meetings are about to get Trump-y, now that the volatile real estate mogul is about to move into the Oval Office and is dominating headlines with virtually every tweet.

“I’m sure we will,” Gary Newman, co-chairman and CEO of Fox Television Group, said in an interview Wednesday with TheWrap at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, when asked if he expects a wave of Trump-inspired scripts.

He added that most TV writers had already finished working up their pilot ideas for the current development season before the November election. But, “I’m sure next year, we’re gonna get pitches that will have Trump-like characters at the heart of shows, and we’ll certainly listen,” Newman said.

“Probably among the community of writers working in Hollywood, few would have believed right up until the day of the election that this was the direction it was going to go,” he added.

But the election won’t change the fundamental need for Fox – and other broadcasters – to find hits. That means shows that appeal to many millions of people, regardless of political affiliation.

“We have talked a lot over the years about how we can’t be programming to ourselves, we can’t program within the bubble of Los Angeles and maybe the bubble of New York,” he said.  “That there’s a big, broad country between the two coasts, and we have to be mindful of their interests and sensibility.”

Fox is controlled by News Corp. billionaire Rupert Murdoch, a Trump supporter, who last year took the reins at Fox News Channel following the ouster of Roger Ailes, who had been accused of sexual harassment by numerous women.

But Newman said neither Murdoch nor any other senior executive has issued any edicts that programming should be Trump-friendly.

“We do not get those sorts of messages from our company,” he said. “Fox News is a very separate sort of entity, and we don’t receive any pressure from our management about doing shows that are appealing to certain groups or anything. And honestly, my personal political feelings are not that relevant to the programs we’re selecting …. We’re trying to appeal to a broad audience.”