It’s not quite a sign of the apocalypse, but it might be close:
A reality-TV guy has been put in charge of the Fox network.
Rob Wade – who supervised Fox’s reality shows and specials – takes over as the CEO, it was announced today (Oct. 6). He replaces Charlie Collier, who moved on to run Roku, after a run in which a few of Fox’s scripted shows — including “The Simpsons” (shown here) and “9-1-1” — thrived and most sputtered.
In their statements, Lachlan Murdoch (CEO of the Fox Corporation) talked of Wade’s “sharp creative instincts”: Wade said we’re in “a transformative time.”
Both statements are true, but the latter has a catch: We can’t be sure if TV is transforming into something better or worse.
Scripted shows have been plagued by viewers’ ability to time-shift them and watch later … or simply forget them. Things with uncertain results – sports events and reality shows – are more likely to be watched live.
A few years ago, Rupert Murdoch (Lachlan’s father) talked about Fox being mostly live. At one point, each week had a four-and-a-half day stretch with nothing but reality, football and wrestling.
That has lessened a bit (Amazon stole the Thursday football games), but the trend continues. Wade’s reality shows have done well, including “The Masked Singer,” “Lego Masters,” “Crime Scene Kitchen” and a pile of Gordon Ramsay food shows.
Among scripted shows, there have been strong results from two “9-1-1” shows and the cartoons, especially “The Simpsons.” Others have wobbled.
This year, Collier detoured two shows headed for late spring and summer. Instead, “Monarch” would be the centerpiece of Fox’s fall line-up and the second season of a “Fantasty Island” reboot would wait to fill a mid-season hole.
Both shows have rich production values. “Monarch” also has a strong country-music soundtrack, but is overloaded with soap-style success; ratings have been modest. And by mid-season, there may lotgs of holes for “Fantasy Island” to plug.