Fox chairman Peter Liguori and new entertainment president Kevin Reilly (late of NBC) joined the TV critics' summer press tour in Beverly Hills to take questions about the network's fall schedule. Many of the questions were about Reilly's recent move and his relationship with former employer NBC, which fired him in May after a season of poor ratings.
But for viewers who couldn't care less about internal executive shuffling, there was also show news to be had.
REALITY SHOW RENEWALS
For every reader who writes in about how much he or she hates reality shows, there's another who writes asking if "X reality show has been renewed." Fox was big on the renewals -- it's a "duh" that "American Idol," the most popular show in the country, will be back come January. But the network has also ordered a fourth season of "So You Think You Can Dance," a fourth season of "Hell's Kitchen," and 13 more episodes of the Wayne Brady-hosted "Don't Forget the Lyrics." (Don't confuse Brady's show with the similar, Joey Fatone-hosted "Singing Bee," which I wrote about earlier.) Horror host Elvira will also be helping out with "The Search for the Next Elvira." (What's wrong with the old one?) And although no title or date was announced, look for reality guru Mike Darnell ("When Animals Attack," "Alien Autopsy") to come up with an equally tasteful show that's been referred to as "When Women Rule the World," in which a dozen women boss around a dozen men.
If the short-lived series "Drive" engaged you, hope you have access to good streaming video. After first saying the final two unaired episodes would air July 4, then July 13, the network decided not to air them at all, but put them online at Fox on Demand.
'24' ELECTS A WOMAN PRESIDENT
Actress Cherry Jones, known mostly for theater work, will play U.S. President Allison Taylor on the upcoming seventh season of '24.' Jones has won two Tonys, one for 1995's "The Heiress" and one for 2005's "Doubt."
LIONEL RICHIE, JACK BLACK TO BE HEARD ON 'SIMPSONS'
"The Simpsons" just keeps on rolling, and Fox has announced a star-studded lineup of guest voices for the animated show's 19th season.
--Lionel Richie will play himself in an episode in which Stephen Colbert plays a life coach enlisted to help Homer become a superstar.
--Steve Buscemi plays a bank robber whom Marge pretends to befriend, then abandons.
--Jack Black plays a comic-book store owner whose new business will compete with that of the Comic Book Guy.
--Other celeb casting will include Jon Stewart, Topher Grace, Keith Olbermann, Matt Dillon, Weird Al Yankovic, Placido Domingo, Dan Rather and others.