With apologies in advance to Greg “HEROES is well received all over the world” Grunberg, not to mention fellow TV Addicts who are pinning their favorite show’s renewal chances on ancillary revenue, we’ve got some bad news for you: Foreign and DVD sales are probably not going to be saving your ‘on-the-bubble’ show anytime soon.
We know this because after tiring of hearing fans passionately defend their favorite show’s chances of renewal with cries of, “It’s huge on DVD” or “Europe and Asia love it!” we decided it was high time to ask someone in the know. And who better to corner at the recent Television Critics Association (TCA) Press tour than that of FOX Primetime President Kevin Reilly himself, who was only too happy to set the record straight.
“Foreign markets have been a big part of our financing for a long time and international sales of are big component of how we make money on television so to a certain degree success overseas is a factor.” explained Reilly.
Unfortunately, it’s not the only factor. For unlike the film industry, which discovered long ago that boffo box office overseas can make up for disappointing domestic returns Stateside (see: G.I. Joe, Wolverine, Transformers and virtually every single Sylvester Stallone movie since 1996) the small screen operates differently.
“Unlike the Box Office which is a different entity entirely, television has to work on a ratings basis for FOX,” said Reilly. “In terms of making it financial viability we can do things like renew PRISON BREAK for a fourth season. But ultimately, saying it’s a flop in American but they love it in France simply doesn’t work.”
For the network or Reilly himself, who interestingly enough conceded that he can’t exactly sit in front of the TCA firing squad at Press Tour and defend a show with a one rating. “You guys [the media] would be asking what the hell am I doing, in the end I’d be hurting.”