Fox network looks to rebuild after lackluster fall

Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:30pm EST
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By Marisa Guthrie

PASADENA, California (Hollywood Reporter) - The pressure is on Fox as the U.S. network heads into midseason down double-digits year-to-year and with a wholesale makeover on cash cow "American Idol."

Peter Rice, chairman of entertainment Fox Networks Group, said he expects "Idol" to be down this season, but he's still hopeful that the juggernaut will finish the season as TV's No. 1 program.

"To be No. 1 in its tenth season would be an amazing accomplishment," said Rice.

At hundreds of millions of dollars a year in advertising revenue, the attention focused on "Idol" is predictable. But Rice and Kevin Reilly, president of entertainment Fox Broadcasting, also acknowledged that the network needs to look beyond "Idol" and refocus on building broad-appeal across its primetime schedule.

"We've got some shows that are doing well," Reilly said to reporters gathered here for the semiannual Television Critics Association press tour. "But we need a next generation of hits."

Two of the network's three new fall shows - Lone Star and "Running Wilde" - crashed and burned.

"When was DOA," said Reilly, "there was a gaping hole. That was unexpected and it caused trouble for us."

However, "Raising Hope" received a second-season pickup despite mediocre ratings.   Continued...