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New Fox Entertainment President on Why He Still Wants Multi-Camera Comedies

TCA 2018: ”When they work, they work big,“ Michael Thorn tells TheWrap on what he calls an ”American art form“

Michael Thorn took over as Fox Entertainment president at the end of August, and David Madden’s successor already has a clear vision for the future of the broadcast network’s slate — studio or no studio.

Yes, he wants new single-camera comedies, which have been all the rage stateside since the days of NBC’s “The Office.” And yes, Thorn said a “big priority” of his is to find another “signature animated series” to compliment Fox’s Sunday night lineup, appropriately referred to as “Animation Domination.” But the guy who helped develop “This Is Us” wants to revive another format — a dying one, in many respects — the multi-camera sitcom.

“I think multi-cams are an American art form,” Thorn told TheWrap Thursday during an interview at the Television Critics Association’s biannual press tour. “And when they work, they work big.”

See: “Theory, The Big Bang” (pictured above).

What Thorn referred to as the “big funny” that can come from a multi-camera comedy when done right also lends itself to repeat viewing, he explained.

“Sometimes single-cams are charming or cute, and I think people want to laugh right now,” Thorn added.

Fox hasn’t actually aired a multi-camera comedy in years, with one semi-recent attempt famously flopping in the form of Seth MacFarlane’s “Dads.” Still, Thorn & Co. have a few new chances on the horizon, having developed a multi-cam pilot with Charlie Day and currently casting another three-camera project from fellow “Always Sunny in Philadelphia” actor Rob McElhenney.

Thorn will likely lose his studio in 12-18 months when a large portion of 21st Century Fox’s assets will fall under the Disney banner, should that merger go through as expected.

To close on a semi-unrelated note, click here to see what Thorn had to say earlier today about more “Prison Break” coming to Fox in the future.