Fox Wants To Bring Back ‘The X-Files’

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Fox Wants To Bring Back ‘The X-Files’.

Agents Mulder and Scully may be headed back to the small screen. The truth is out there: On Saturday, two Fox TV executives confirmed that the network is in early conversations about ramping up the cult science fiction series The X-Files, which was a smash hit during its nine-year run between 1993 and 2002.The network has had two big successes – Gotham and Empire, both renewed for new seasons, along with Brooklyn Nine-Nine – and several failures, including Gracepoint, Red Band Society, Mulaney and reality disaster Utopia.PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Producers capable of making “big, bold” series such as Fox’s freshman drama “Empire” are key to rescuing the network from its ratings slump, its top executives said Friday.Besides placing high hopes on a new show from “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy, network executives told TV writers at the TCA press tour Saturday they are talking with Simon Cowell and the creators of past Fox hits “24” and “X-Files.” Newman acknowledged that Fox has been “ratings-challenged” the last couple of years, and admitted it would take “hard work” to overtake CBS, ABC and NBC.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Dana Walden and Gary Newman, Fox TV Group co-chairs and CEOs, have been chatting with Chris Carter, the brains behind the series. After years of leading among young adults, thanks mainly to the now-flagging American Idol, it now ranks fourth in that measure and among all viewers, down 8% in both categories. — After the success it saw from resurrecting Jack Bauer and co. for another installment of 24, Fox is looking to bring back two more popular properties, the heads of Fox’s TV group confirmed Saturday. In general, Walden said, they would like to tweak the network’s image to include more family-friendly reality shows like “American Idol” and “MasterChef Junior.” But Fox also wants “a balance,” she said, and as if to emphasize that point, she and Newman announced renewals for three very different kinds of programs: the big music-business drama “Empire,” the “Batman” origin story “Gotham” and the sitcom “Brooklyn Nine Nine.” Walden expressed optimism about working out contracts for another season of “Bones,” and said “we’re waiting a bit” on deciding whether to bring “Sleepy Hollow” back. “We’re making some creative adjustments (on ‘Sleepy Hollow’),” said Walden. “We think it may have become a little too serialized, so we’re going to give it more procedural content.

They took over a broadcaster that’s No. 4 in the ratings and has fading shows, including one-time powerhouse “American Idol.” One of the first steps was luring back Ryan Murphy, the creator of Fox’s outgoing series “Glee” who in recent years has focused on cable series including “American Horror Story,” he said. The show is a tricky balance.” The new co-bosses, who took over in a shakeup five months ago, said they are “incredibly excited” about their star-scripted show this summer, “Wayward Pines.” Michele was announced as a “Scream Queens” star Saturday, along with Joe Manganiello, Abigail Breslin and Keke Palmer. At the time — as I and many others wrote — this was seen as simultaneously a historic consolidation of roles and something like a major part of television’s future. Walden was careful to say that the talks thus far have been “logistical” in nature, as the program’s return hinges on whether its two stars, Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, would be willing and available to pick it up again.

But there are ongoing conversations happening.” Meanwhile, ahead of Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell’s reunion on Tuesday’s episode of The Flash, Newman said Fox is open to discussions about bringing back Prison Break, on which Miller and Purcell starred as brothers wrapped up in a conspiracy. They’ve also been pitched a new limited 24 series for 2016, though Kiefer Sutherland, who starred as Jack Bauer, may not be part of the equation this time around. However, he admitted that news of the rumored in-the-works return, which some news outlets reported this week, was “slightly news to us.” But Newman said, “We’ve made it clear over the years that we’d bring Prison Break back in a heartbeat …

Walden and Newman said their “first call” when they took their new gigs was to Murphy, who had moved into edgier cable dramas like “American Horror Story.” He said there is “nothing to announce yet” from conversations with Cowell, who is a symbol of Fox’s glory days from his time as a judge on the early seasons of Fox had modest success with a revived short-run series of “24” last year, and Newman said “we would love” to do it again – though here, too, he said nothing is imminent. It’d be the perfect event series.” The only wrinkle, of course, is that the return would likely have to be a prequel. (Five-year-old spoiler alert: Miller’s Michael Scofield dies in the 2009 conclusion of the series.) Do you agree? Cowell, the music executive, former “American Idol” judge and producer of series including NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and “The X Factor,” which lasted just three seasons on Fox, is a “talent magnet,” Newman said. Chris has a lot on his plate, so it’s just trying to carve out the time.” Anderson, who played Agent Scully on the show, recently sparked fervor after expressing her desire for a series reboot during a Nerdist Podcast interview. Later, comedies Weird Loners and Last Man on Earth, starring Will Forte, arrives, followed by summer thriller Wayward Pines, a Twin Peaks-style mystery starring Matt Dillon.

Among current series, Walden says she’s hopeful Bones will return, pending renegotiation of stars David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel’s contracts, which expire in May, and promised a “recalibration” of Sleepy Hollow, a promising 2013 newcomer that hit a sophomore slump last fall thanks to an overly serialized, sometimes confusing show. “We’re trying to return the fun to it a little bit,” says Walden, adding later that the show, if renewed, will likely shift production to Atlanta from Wilmington, N.C., after North Carolina tax breaks expired. Walden brushed aside a question about whether Terence Howard’s well-publicized off-air behavior issues had been a factor for Fox when he was cast in both “Empire” and “Wayward Pines.” While the X-Files talks are in the very early stages, perhaps the negotiators will be inspired by the recent resurgence of another cult ’90s series, Twin Peaks, which was recently picked up by Showtime for a third season in 2016, 25 years after its 1991 cancellation. She says New Girl is “very” likely to come back, though the fate of The Mindy Project will rest on the show’s performance in this season’s back half, and pilot vying to replace it.

Officially, Reilly left his job, but it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where he was pushed out because his desire to turn Fox into a boutique cable network didn’t gibe with broadcast’s need to draw as big of an audience as possible. (Reilly is now running TNT and TBS — over on cable.) Walden and Newman’s attitude, as best expressed in this Hollywood Reporter profile of the two of them, is that broadcast can only survive if it pulls in the biggest audience possible, which means returning to some of TV’s most well-worn genres, then finding some new twist to put on them. Similarly, Empire is a glossy primetime soap that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the 1980s, but it’s set in the world of hip-hop, which is a fairly new setting for such a thing. (And it certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s a beautifully executed ’80s soap, with Taraji P. Despite several domestic abuse allegations against the star, Walden insisted that the network’s history with the star has been positive — he’s also in the upcoming miniseries Wayward Pines — and that it was only made aware of the accusations in December (despite the fact that a Google of Howard very quickly reveals articles from last summer, and network background checks are surely more thorough than that).

The gonzo horror series is one of TV’s hardest to classify — it’s caught somewhere between romance, modern cop show, ghost story, and period drama — and if that unpredictable quality made for a lot of fun in season one, the show’s all-consuming mythology (its ongoing, overarching story about battling demons from Hell) has, well, consumed it in season two. If so much TV now is a balance between telling stories that take whole seasons to tell, versus stories that are wrapped in a single episode, then much of it is also about balancing the medium’s potential against what viewers already know it does well, the future versus the past, in other words.

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