Fox is essentially done with its upfront sales, according to a source, gaining pricing increases of 2.5-3.5 percent but losing volume after a rough 2013-14 season in which ratings for American Idol, in particular, hastened the decline that had been all but certain for years. Poor showings from The New Girl and The Mindy Project didn't help, either.
Fox sold some 75-80 percent of its projected volume for the coming season, though, writing much of its business on C7 guarantees across more than one agency (GroupM is the biggest name taking the plunge on that front; Spark is probably not among the C7 converts). That volume is down after this past season, though the 75-80 percent number is a typical portion.
On the agenda for next season: downbeat comedy Red Band Society, Seinfeld wannabe Mullaney, Brit crime drama remake Gracepoint, and, of course, Gotham, the early years, the Batmanly answer to Smallville. Not available: Kevin Reilly, former Fox Entertainment chairman and now at large after a fairly unceremonious departure less than three weeks after the upfront. The network is said to have done solid business with movie studios, in particular.
The company still hasn't replaced Reilly; that can't have made life easier for ad sales head Toby Byrne, but the exec still managed to finish business well in advance of the industry's unofficial July 4 deadline, which it blew spectacularly last year. Upfront budgets seem down across the board, promising a pricey scatter market—either that or plenty of cash around for the cable guys, the first of whom should start wrapping up their deals next week.