Upfronts 2014: Fox makes ‘eventizing’ a thing, the world (or a showrunner) reacts

Fox unveiled its up-and-coming, one-name star of programming at its 2014 upfront presentation to media buyers — and her name is “eventizing.”

Not to be outdone by Bob Greenblatt and NBC’s embracement of year-round event programming, Fox went one step further: It made up a word for it.

“We are eventizing our entertainment slate,” Fox’s chairman of entertainment Kevin Reilly, unveiling the buzzy nonword, said in summing up the network’s investment in limited-run series and one-off events in its forthcoming season as a way to capitilize on the “urgency to view.” And offering a slight distraction from its setback on the ratings-front — the network is expected to finish second in the 18-19 demo and fourth in total viewers.

Fox dipped its toes in the format this month with the 10-part revival of “24: Live Another Day.” Its forthcoming season will consist of close-ended runs of “Gracepoint” and “Wayward Pines” in addition to such one-offs as its 2015 live telecast of its “Grease” revival as well as its New Year’s countdown helmed by music star Pitbull.

“Eventizing” didn’t just cause quizzical looks among the media buyers and press in the room. The Times caught up with Hart Hanson, showrunner and executive producer of Fox’s longrunning drama “Bones” and new series “Backstrom,” at the network’s after party, and the word was not lost on him — nor the idea.


“First of all, I’m an old English teacher,” said Hart Hanson. “That’s not a word! So that’s the first thing I thought: That is not a word!’ But look, I am fascinated by what the hell broadcast network people are going to do because all the pressure for writers and showrunners now is to go do dramas and dramedies on cable where you don’t need the giant audience to stay on. So I don’t know what broadcast brass are going to do — but clearly event series, mini-series, of whatever you want to call them is something that’s catching on.”

He continued: “It’s a slaughter house out there. It’s really hard to rise above the noise. I’m old. A lot of announcement have been made about how things are going to change through the years. It has. But it’s not cataclysmic. ‘Sleepy Hollow’ is a hit. ‘Blacklist’ is a hit. ‘The Good Wife’ is a hit. So it can still happen. But who knows? I could be joining the eventizing game in the near future. We all could.”