11 a.m. Executive Session
No, there was no announcement about just who the new judges will be on American Idol, but Fox Networks Group Entertainment chairman Peter Rice did offer more details into Ellen DeGeneres’ departure from the ratings behemoth.
In early June, I met with Ellen and I tried to persuade her that it would be different in the future but ultimately we came to an agreement that we would look for new judges — we were doing that anyway because Simon [Cowell] was leaving. As that played out over the course of the summer that we would come to an agreement and say to her, ‘We can’t replace you’ or to say that, "We feel that we can move on without you." … We felt confident we could come up with a panel that didn’t include Ellen as a judge and at the same time we knew we were coming here on Monday and I felt it would be very disingenuous to sit here and to talk about Ellen being on Idol next year when we knew that that wasn’t going to be the case.
The only thing I can tell you with absolute certainty right now is that no one has signed a deal yet on either side of the camera to join American Idol next year who wasn’t on it last year. … There are no signed deals with anybody.
Finally switching gears to Fringe, featuring out actress Jasika Nicole, Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly said the network has “No intention of screwing with Fringe because it’s been going great. It really found its footing last year. The first batch of scripts [for Season 3] is great with the alternate universe.”
Addressing the network’s decision to scrap the plan for a Glee reality show, Reilly noted that the time commitment didn’t fit in with the production schedule for Season 2. “It seemed logistically very difficult and probably not worth it,” he said. “We are introducing a few new characters and the characters that Ryan envisioned will be coming later on. But the (audition) tapes and the fans that participated in that have been viewed and we’ve looked at some of those people and those people and that component will still be kept alive and probably factor in at a later date.”
Touching on Glee’s overexposure, Reilly said it’s a “high-class” problem to have. “We’re looking to do a great year of television and maybe some of the hoopla will die down and I think maybe that will be healthy.”
Both execs met with Glee creator Ryan Murphy recently and agreed that focusing on characters in Season 2 would be the best idea. “There’s no pressure from the music industry to do more music on Glee. ” Reilly said. “Everything we’ve heard is that people love the characters — like Heather [Morris], who is really a background dancer and emerged as one of the favorite characters of last season.”
Look for an exclusive post on Glee‘s new season later today.