Fox chief on 'House,' 'Terra Nova' odds; 'X Factor' changes

Will Terra Nova get a second season? Will House conclude this season? Will Fox shake up The X Factor team?

Fox’s entertainment chief Kevin Reilly faced the critics at the network’s Pasadena press tour event on Sunday. Here’s what we’re hearing and what he said:

– On Terra Nova, the behind-the-scenes sense has been a second season is likely. “It was an exciting bet to take,” Reilly said. “And it’s proven it was worthwhile. It’s the second highest rated [freshman] drama. We made money on it. The audience enjoyed it, they had amble opportunity to reject it and they didn’t. There’s a show there to bring back, there’s an audience to access. There were a lot of chefs in the kitchen. The show was hunting for itself creatively through the season. Creatively it was hunting. I loved some of the episodes.” (Our six ways to improve Terra Nova here).

– On House, sources suggest this is likely the veteran hit medical drama’s final season. But Reilly assures even if that’s the case, creator David Shore will have time to write a great finale (unlike, say, Fringe — more on that here). “It’s hard to imagine the network without House,” he said. “It’s not going to be like the pink slip goes out and that’s the end of House. We haven’t had the big meeting about what we want to do. It’s no secret last year we said last year it was going to be a close call and it’s probably its last year. This is not going to be an unceremonious finish, I can tell you that.” Now even if Fox does axe the show, there’s also a chance another network, like NBC (whose studio produces the series) could pick it up. But even if that happens… “it will absolutely have a satisfying conclusion on Fox. There’s no way David Shore isn’t going to let fans feel it wasn’t properly capped off.”

In both the case of House and Terra Nova, one likely reason Fox is hesitating about making a judgement call is because the network has three new dramas about to debut — Alcatraz, The Finder and Touch. With a limited number of open spots to fill (Fox doesn’t program 10 p.m.), executives have to be careful how many commitments are made each season. Fox likely wants to get some sense of whether at least one of new shows is likely to get a renewal before deciding on the other two.

– On X Factor, there have been rumors Fox might dump a couple team members for season two (specifically, host Steve Jones and judge Nicole Scherzinger). Reilly confirmed there will be changes, but didn’t say what would be changed. “There will be some changes … as we know [hosting] is a much harder job than meets the eye. I think everybody has come to see the value of Ryan Seacrest. Whether Steve is the guy or not, it comes under the heading of growth in general.”

Speaking of, Seacrest’s American Idol deal is up, but Reilly sounded pretty bullish about the host signing a new contract. “It’s very hard to imagine the show without Ryan,” he said. “It’s a tough negotiation and one that will come to conclusion pretty quickly.”

Fox also announced plans to launch a late-night animation block on Saturday evenings that will run 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The network created a new division to develop “alternative animated” programming for the block that will be headed by former Adult Swim programming chief Nick Weidenfeld.

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