The Culture TV

With 'Pitch' and 'Scream Queens,' is Fox still the network for younger audiences?

At the Television Critics Association winter press tour, Fox executives recently discussed the fate of shows like 'Pitch' and 'Scream Queens.' 

'Pitch' stars Kylie Bunbury.
Tommy Garcia/Fox/AP/File | Caption

At the Television Critics Association winter press tour, representatives from Fox discussed programs such as the baseball show “Pitch” and the comedy “Scream Queens” as well as possible plans for another iteration of the cult favorite “The X-Files.”

Fox Television Group chief executive officer Gary Newman said that the network had not decided whether to order a new season for "Pitch."

“We were very proud of ‘Pitch,'” Mr. Newman said, also saying, “We would have loved to have a bigger audience.” He said the network would likely decide what to do about the drama later in 2017 as well as what to do about the comedy “Scream Queens.” 

Fox aired the production “Grease Live” in 2016 and Fox entertainment president David Madden said Fox is “so close” to announcing what its next live musical will be. 

In 2016, Fox also aired new episodes of its 1990s science fiction program “The X-Files,” and Mr. Madden said during the TCA winter press tour that more “X-Files” episodes could be on the way.

“We hope” the show will come back, Madden said, adding, “We hope to be able to announce something very shortly.” 

For the 2014-2015 TV season, Fox struggled in drawing viewers ages 18 to 49, a demographic that is valued by advertisers, with Deadline writer Lisa de Moraes writing that Fox “crashed from second place into fourth” for that demographic.

In the 2015-2016 TV season, however, the network stopped its decline. “Fox also is flat compared to its previous season’s 1.9 result, which is a big improvement over last season,” Ms. de Moraes wrote. Overall, Fox ranked in third place rather than fourth for the year.

Now, as 2017 begins, Fox may be hurt by the performance of its drama “Empire” when it comes to overall performance with viewers ages 18 to 49. For the 2015-2016 TV season, “Empire” was the second-most-watched show for that demographic, behind only “Sunday Night Football,” but Variety writer Oriana Schwindt noted at the end of 2016 that the show was having problems.

“Week-over-week ratings growth isn’t sustainable for any series, so it was inevitable that Fox’s ‘Empire’ would slow down,” Ms. Schwindt writes. “Cookie Lyon’s drama crumbled fast in its third season …  subsequently sinking to series lows that weren’t made up for even with seven extra days of viewing factored in. ‘Empire’ still commands a healthy audience. However, the big drop is felt a more keenly given where it started.”

But every network is now struggling to attract young viewers. Vulture writer Josef Adalian noted near the end of 2016, “Leaving out sports and special events, all five of the major broadcast networks are suffering year-to-year viewership drop-offs among adults under 50.”

And Fox is currently being helped by new show “Lethal Weapon,” which debuted this past fall. “While not a monster hit, ‘Lethal’ has already become Fox’s second-biggest show among adults under 50, drawing more young viewers than any other program on the network save for its Wednesday companion ‘Empire,’” Mr. Adalian writes.