Fox entertainment president acknowledged Sunday that the network's fall gamble "Terra Nova" spent much of its first season "hunting" creatively, but said he was glad Fox had aired it. He declined to say whether the dinosaur drama — or the veteran "House" and struggling "Fringe" — would return next season.
He was more certain about the fate of the Jonah Hill animated comedy "Allen Gregory," saying it will not return. The show had seemed doomed when it scored low ratings and was pulled from the schedule, but Reilly made it official. He spoke at the Television Critics Association winter press tour.
Reilly said "Terra Nova" was profitable despite its costs, which included shooting in Australia. He said he was pleased with the 13-episode first season of the show, whether or not it continues.
"We made money on it, the studio made money on it, the audience enjoyed it," he said, noting that the show was the second-highest rated drama of the fall — one marked by declining ratings for dramas.
But he said the show was "hunting for itself through the season," in part because there were many ideas at work.
"Creatively it was hunting," he said.
He said if "House" ends this season, he will make sure the show has a strong sendoff — and acknowledged it could potentially move to NBC, given that the show is produced by Universal Television. (Both the network and studio are under the NBCUniversal umbrella.) The show has dipped in the ratings this year.
Reilly was most blunt about the prospects for "Fringe." He said Fox was losing money on the low-rated Friday sci-fi drama, and would have to decide whether there was a way it made sense to keep airing it. But he stressed that it was not cancelled.
"Please don't start the letter-writing campaign right now," he joked. "I can't handle it."
He spoke just moments after one of the producers of "Fringe," J.J. Abrams (pictured with Abrams, above), took to the same stage to discuss his upcoming Fox show "Alcatraz."
Reilly also addressed the ratings for "Glee," which are now down nearly 20 percent compared to last season's ratings. Show co-creator Ryan Murphy stunned fans last year when he said some of the show's stars would leave after this season as their characters graduate, but later said their graduation wouldn't necessarily end their appearances on the show.
Reilly dismissed the possibility that their exit could spawn a spinoff.
"We are graduating the characters… what's come out of it is Ryan and the guys have come up with a really cool idea. There will not be a 'Glee' spinoff. But those characters will graduate and it's led to a very interesting idea that I think is going to really give us something cool to dig into next season."
Reilly also said that despite the end of "Allen Gregory," Fox plans to continue to create shows with Hill, its creator and lead voice actor.