In a look at the state of the broadcast networks heading into 2010, Broadcasting & Cable’s Melissa Grego has a sidebar titled “Summer-Schooled Again” that looks at how well cable has been doing in the summer. But apparently at least FOX isn’t taking it sitting down:
Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly is tired of reading about cable in the summer. “We have to retrain America,” he says. “We’re going to spend some real dollars against it. There’s no reason to watch Burn Notice on USA and not watch [Nix’s] Code 58 [formerly known as Jack and Dan] on Fox.”
CBS has Flashpoint episodes to air in the summer, but otherwise it currently looks like it, Code 58 and original episodes of Lie To Me will be the only new scripted content with everything else on broadcast being reruns or new unscripted programming. The article did say ABC has more scripted content for mid-season than it can air so some of the scripted content might get aired in the summer, but unlike what FOX is doing with Code 58 (basically trying to design a summer hit) it sounds like that will be dregs like “Defying Gravity”
It doesn’t sound much like anything that will “retrain America”, though if Code 58 is good, I think people will find it and I imagine FOX will promote it well enough to get solid initial sampling.
Scripted Content At What Cost?
For all the talk of how “great” those cable shows do in the summer, the very best of them do from the high 1.x adult 18-49 rating to a very low 2.x adult 18-49 rating (live+SD). Code 58 could pull a 2.2 and be beating Burn Notice, but would FOX be happy with that?
One thing USA can do with Burn Notice that FOX can’t is rerun episodes frequently, during different day parts and USA can do marathons (allowing people to catch up). So even if the cost to produce Code 58 is similar to Burn Notice (and by the way, Burn Notice is a produced by a Fox studio) FOX cant defer the cost over lots of hours of air time in the same way USA can.