FOX execs weigh in on 'X-Files' scheduling, the future of '24'
The truth about FOX's scheduled return of "The X-Files" was finally out there as of Monday (May 11) morning, but that premiere announcement brought several additional questions with it.
FOX revealed that "The X-Files" will return with a two-night event in January. The first episode will air at 10-ish p.m. after the NFC Championship game on Sunday, January 24. The following night, "The X-Files" will have its time period premiere at 8 p.m. on Monday.
This raised questions about the strategic value of both using that football game as a platform to relaunch what is a very established property, while also simultaneously burning off one-third of the network's inventory of the six-episode limited "X-Files" return.
We thought a lot about how to eventize bringing the show back, from a scheduling perspective," Fox Television Group co-Chairman and CEO Dana Walden said when I asked about the scheduling on FOX's Monday conference call with reporters. "We've got a lot going on in midseason on our schedule and it felt like the best way to capitalize on all of the opportunities was to give 'The X-Files,' something that's so highly anticipated, that fans have been literally clamoring for for a decade, giving it the best, maximum expose in that post-NFC game time period and then starting the next day with the first of the next five episodes. So it'll air Sunday night and then Monday night and then for the next five weeks, which will give us a great opportunity to platform our new show 'Lucifer' on Monday night. So when we looked at all of the options that we had, it just felt like that was the one that gave the greatest exposure to 'X-Files,' something our fans are waiting for, and also created great circulation on our air to promote all of our midseason launches and then gave this beautiful platform to 'Lucifer,' so it felt just like a win anyway you look at it."
Given the opportunity, I also asked what creator Chris Carter has been saying about the balance of mythology and stand-alone episodes in the six-episode run, not that I expected an answer.
"Have you ever met Chris Carter?" Walden laughed. "Because he doesn't tell us a lot. No, I think there will be a combination of episodes. If you were a loyal fan and became familiar with the process of mixing stand-alones and the deeper mythology episodes, I think everyone will be happy with what they have planned."
In addition to "The X-Files," another potential return for a beloved FOX property was discussed on the early morning conference call, with a similarly nebulous response.
Regarding another "24" event series or something, fellow co-Chairman and CEO Gary Walden teased, "We have been developing another version of '24,' but it is still fairly early in the development process, so there's just really nothing that we can tell you at this time other than [that] we are working on something."
Check out FOX's full 2015-16 scheduling announcement.