Fox, FX gobble up two days of Winter Press Tour

Fox-logoFX-Network-LogoFox and its cable sibling FX Networks took the Monday and Tuesday sessions of The Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour.

Fox began its Monday at TCA with network president Kevin Reilly addressing the troops. He defended moving Bones to Fridays and said the cast is in discussions for a tenth and likely final season. Reilly also went to bat for  The Mindy Project. While the show lacks in the ratings department, he pointed out “It’s really on the money (creatively) right now.” But momentum is building for Ms. Kaling: there was a ton of buzz surrounding her Elle magazine cover, and she was recently named ABC News’ Person Of The Week. And while The X Factor flopped with viewers this fall, Reilly pointed out the show’s worldwide popularity and is still an advertiser-friendly option in a still red-hot genre. But if Factor comes back, it won’t keep its current format.

The next day, John Landgraf met with critics for its TCA presser for FX, the home of Archer, Justified, and Sons Of Anarchy. Landgraf addressed the issue of his net losing ad revenue due to delayed viewing, so he hauled out the TV Everywhere FX NOW app to help offset some of those losses. With MSO cred (from your cable or telco provider), you can watch FX, FXX, or FXM on the app. Landgraf did confirm the official retirement of the critically acclaimed Justified after six seasons, and was satisfied with the debut of FXX.

Onto the panels:

Fox announced its 24 reboot Live Another Day premiere on May 5, and air Mondays at 8 p.m. (CT) at the panel. Kiefer Sutherland hinted a 24 movie still could happen: “The film is an ongoing situation. There’s always an opportunity to do that. But Howard [Gordon] came up for 12 episode run of this and this opportunity presented to us first. It’s a fantastic idea. If this ends up causing a film to be made, so be it.”

Fox brought out its somewhat new and improved American Idol judging panel with the addition of Harry Connick Jr. and the return of Jennifer Lopez after a one year break. In addition to eliminating much of the nonsense that plagued last year’s edition, some of the changes being made include more current songs, the inclusion of more Idol alums, near elimination of sob stories, and a Randy Jackson boot camp. The Idol producers meant business when they said they were going to write the ship.

Seth MacFarlane made an appearance to tout the revival of Cosmos, the remake he’s producing for Fox, which was originally hosted by Carl Sagan and aired on PBS in 1980. MacFarlane is providing the show was Sagan’s widow Ann Drugan.

So why a Comsos revival? easy MacFarlane watched it as a kid growing up.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson (the host of the show) was skeptical at first, but was sold when Fox was serious  about proceeding with the show.

As a science fan – and one who did watch Cosmos as an eight year-old – it’ll be interesting to see how MacFarlane pull this off. It might not get great ratings, but give Fox credit for trying something different – a type of series you usually don’t find on network television. Cosmos: A Space Odyssey premieres March 9 at 8 p.m. (CT) on Fox.

Quick Hits & Bits:

Fox announced the premiere dates for new comedy Surviving Jack, which debuts March 27 after the Idol results show, and new crime drama Gang Related, which debuts May 20 after…you guessed it, Idol.

Archer is undergoing a major change – its characters transform from spies to… drug dealers?

Method Man, of FX’s new hip-hop animated comedy Chozen,  said critics need to lighten up regarding a controversial gay white rapper on the show.

FX’s The Strain is… you guessed it, another vampire show. But what’s different is this show sends a statement about empiricism and religion – without the sex. Seriously.

And here’s the scoop on Justified’s final season. What you need to know…