FOX renews ‘Raising Hope’ early, comments on cancelled shows & Fringe’s move [Update: J.J. Abrams addresses the move, too]
One day after ABC granted early renewals to six of its series, competitor FOX decided to show its muscle by renewing its freshman series Raising Hope. The Greg Garcia comedy was actually the first freshman series of the year to receive a back-nine episode order, so it’s certainly fitting that today it became the first freshman program to be renewed for a second season. Go Hope! The laugh-out-loud family comedy is FOX’s highest-rated new series; having that Glee lead-in doesn’t hurt. The show’s creator Garcia said, “I’m happy that the show is getting another year. But the fact that I’ve been trying to think of a funny quote for the last two hours and this is the best I could come up with makes me a little nervous about season two.” FOX prez Kevin Reilly also shared his excitement about the continuation of Hope: “Raising Hope has emerged as a comedic standout: wickedly smart, hilarious and full of heart. Greg Garcia and his great cast have established an appointment show on Tuesday nights this season and we’re confident it’s just the beginning of great things to come.” Raising Hope returns with new episodes Tuesday February 8 at 9PM. If you’re not watching this show, it’s never too late to start.
Update 3: Click here to watch Hope‘s Golden Globes plea. Greg Garcia and the cast put together this “For Your Consideration” video and sent it to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association hoping it would help their chances at landing a nomination. It didn’t, but it’s still well worth a watch. Let’s just say Cloris Leachman brings down the house with her wildly NSFW language.
In addition to renewing Hope, Reilly opened up at the Television Critics Association press tour about the other two freshman series that got the axe early on. Lone Star: “It was a real bummer. We made a show that we really loved. You guys really believed in the show. But not enough people showed up. We were very disappointed, but that’s the reality of the business. I’d much prefer to fail with a show we are creatively proud of than fail with a show we’re embarrassed with.” Running Wilde: “I think I watered down Mitch’s vision. Look, one of the early lessons you learn is to bet on the talent. [Wilde] was slow to find itself. I was involved. I was involved probably more than I wanted to be. Mitch didn’t resent it. It struggling to find its legs. It found them probably too little too late.”
He also talked about Fringe‘s move to Friday, again: “I appreciate the support in this room, and I beg you not to write the eulogy prematurely. Friday is a troubled night. We are continually looking for a solution on the night. I was happy that Fringe turned up on a number of top-10 lists. We’re looking for it to go a little bit broader with ratings. I really hope fans go with it. Right now, we’re down to a core loyal audience.” … “It’s a show we’re very passionate about. I want the audience to transfer to Friday. I would be heartbroken if it went away.” … Concerning the creatively intricate storyline he admitted, “It’s probably a little difficult to join it in progress.” But he concluded, “We’re playing to our fans. We’re happy to take anyone new who wants to get onboard. But If the fans stay with us, the show can stay on the air for many years.”
While Lie To Me remains on the fence, things are looking up for Bones and House renewals.
Update: Fringe co-creator J.J. Abrams spoke to TV Line and addressed the show’s move to Friday. Simply put, the man’s in high spirits about it. Here are some choice quotes. “When we made the move and [executive producers] Joe [Chappelle] and Jeff [Pinker] started pitching stuff, we thought, ‘Well, this will probably get a little pushback,’” Abrams says. “But they [at Fox] were like, ‘OK, sounds good!’” He hints that the second half of this season will feature “visual things” that “if I had done in a film, the PG-13 rating would have been taken from us.” He continued to praise FOX, “They have been amazingly and gloriously lenient in what were able to do. It feels like unbridled, unhinged Fringe.” So what’s the bottom line here? FOX has moved Fringe to Friday, the network believes that fans will follow it there, and the producers have been given the greenlight to push Fringe boundaries creatively. All sounds good to me.
Update 2: IGN’s Eric Goldman sat down with Abrams to discuss the Friday move and his thoughts about a possible end date for the series. Look after the break to read an excerpt from said interview.
Question: FOX’s president, Kevin Reilly, has said they’ve kind of embraced that Fringe‘s audience is its audience and they’re fine with that, as long as it can maintain its numbers. Does that give you freedom to go even deeper into the mythology?
J.J. Abrams: It absolutely would… if we weren’t moving to Fridays! All I would say is I am grateful beyond belief. I literally have loved being at FOX. I’ve loved the experience, so much so that we’re doing Alcatraz for FOX. I’m thrilled. Having said that, I do not want Alcatraz to get a slot only because Fringe has left one for it. My goal is that they can co-exist happily. And they are two very different series, but Fringe deserves to live beyond Season 3. The work that everyone there is doing proves that out.
Q: If they were to say to you, “We want to set an end date” — the end of next season, say — would this be able to be wrapped up in a way that would satisfy you?
Abrams: I would say that having an end date on a series is actually a wonderful thing. But no one wants the end date to come too early. I would argue that the show deserves to go on beyond Season 3, but if they did say, “We have to end the show at the end of Season 4,” I would rather know that and work our asses off to satisfy that story then to be told in a month [the end's] gonna be at the end of Season 3. I would argue there is no way to wrap it up in a truly satisfying way [if that occurred].
Q: So if it got another season, you think that it could be done satisfactorily?
Abrams: Look, what I know is, is that the stories Jeff [Pinkner] and J.H. [Wyman] are thinking go beyond Season 4. But if bad news came that Season 4 was it, I know we would have to accept that fate. If worse news came that Season 3 was the end, I think we’d just have to say, “Fine, we’re doing three seasons of the show, but we’re not wrapping anything up,” because that’s a very tall order.