Television

RIP pilot season, says Fox entertainment chairman

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MUMBAI: American commercial broadcasting television network, FOX, owned by News. Corp. will be abandoning the traditional pilot season and will focus on developing new TV shows all year round.

At the 2014 Television Critics Association Press Tour, 21st Century Fox Inc.’s Fox Broadcasting chairman of entertainment Keith Reilly explained that the outdated “pilot season” process just doesn’t work for TV anymore. Reilly opened his executive session with a R.I.P. sign “FOX Pilot Season 1986-2013? and stated that the network will not adhere to the traditional pilot season starting this year.

“We are going to be bypassing pilot season,” he said, later referring to the old system as “a welfare state.” “The broadcast development system was built in different era with three networks and is highly inefficient. It is nothing short of a miracle talent can still produce anything of quality in that environment,” which he said includes ordering a ton of pilots, then screening them and making a decision over a two-week period, with the producers of the newly picked up series tasked with delivering a series on the air in six weeks.

Pilot season came into existence not long after Philo Farnsworth in 1927 invented television, and is the beat that the television industry marches to. Networks fight it out for the best talent in front of and behind the cameras and then parade the end result to advertisers in glitzy presentations over the course of one week in New York City.

“We’ve been trying to do away with pilot season for a long time at FOX,” said Reilly. “The broadcast scheduling process was built for a different era when there were three networks that had a near monopoly. We don’t live in that age anymore.”

FOX will still participate in television’s so-called upfront presentations to advertisers in May, where networks present new shows to marketers.

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