LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- "There's no standard order for a show anymore," Kevin Reilly (Chairman, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company) told reporters this morning during FOX's pre-upfront conference call.
Case in point: new drama "Gotham" will have an initial order of 16 episodes, up from its contractual obligation of 13. "That's a comment on how strongly we feel about it... because we think that's the way that show - at least in its first iteration - will be very strong to arc to."
"Sleepy Hollow" likewise is getting extra installments. "Next year our order on 'Sleepy Hollow' is 18 episodes," Reilly said. "We will have almost all 18 in a row. And they are now in series production a good two months before just about any other returning drama on television."
On the flip side, FOX plans to roll back its commitment to "American Idol" even further when it returns next year. "Next year the format will be different, it's going to be less hours, it's 37 hours... I think you'll see a two night format at least initially during the audition phase but I think it's quite likely - and we have not locked into it exactly - I think it's quite likely it will end up being a two hour show on one night through most of its run." That's down from 56.5 hours for the current season, which in turn was down from the year prior (59.5).
Less concrete is its commitment to "Glee's" final season. While widely reported as 24 episodes (22 plus the two reallocated from the current season), Reilly said "the order is currently for 22 but we're actually going to sit down with Ryan [Murphy] and really talk about how we're going to end it and figure that out. The advantage of having it on later in the season is that we don't have to feel the pressure of delivering, that we can do them in a row. So we're going to sit down and talk about exactly the best way to end the show now and how many that is."
Also of note: new reality entry "Utopia" will launch prior to the traditional "premiere week" with episodes on both Tuesdays and Fridays for six weeks.
Stay tuned for more news, including trailers for FOX's new fall series after the presentation at 4 PM ET / 3 PM CT / 1 PM PT.