Fox Exec Rob Wade Says: ‘The Four’ Is More Exciting Than ‘American Idol’
In an interview with Deadline, Fox’s President of Alternate Entertainment Rob Wade talked about the network’s new programming strategies. Rob Wade is in charge of Fox’s unscripted series. Formerly the Dancing With the Stars showrunner, Wade is now in charge of Fox’s The Four, Beat Shazam, So You Think You Can Dance, and more. In the interview, he addressed the renewal of The Four and whether he regrets not having American Idol on Fox.
In talking about plans for The Four moving forward, Wade seemed uncertain but optimistic.
“We’ve been really happy with the way it’s grown throughout the summer. We’re really happy with the talent on that show, it has the right auspices to be a broadcast show. What we need to figure out is, if we’re going to bring this back, where should it go.”
So that sounds promising for another season! But Wade was most unsure about the timing of another season. He did go on to note that it will probably not come back for a third season as quickly as it did for its second season.
“I think we need to give it enough of a rest so people are looking forward to it.”
Was that a subtle jab at The Voice? That’s hard to say for sure, but it does seem like something The Voice struggles with. Having two seasons a year makes it difficult to invest in their winners and build up a presence outside of and after the show too. The Four has been especially focused on this so far. They already brought back both first season winner Evvie McKinney and fan favorite Zhavia to debut their new singles around the show in its second season. This leads me to believe the producers and judges will be more involved than they are on other talent shows.
Speaking of its competition, when asked about if he regrets not having American Idol on Fox anymore, Wade made it very clear he does not.
“No, I don’t regret it at all. Idol was cancelled for a couple reasons. It was the cost, the economics, and the ratings were declining…I think people in my position have got to look to the future. We can’t just expect the public to stick with 15-year-old shows that are declining. I want to try new hits. With The Four, there’s a lot more urgency. It’s much more relevant. It’s the number one digital show. For me, it’s more exciting to try a new show like that than to stick with Idol, quite frankly.”
You have to admire the guy’s confidence and willingness to take risks! And to some extent that’s paid off for him. Digital is the future so doing well there is huge. Especially this past seasons with James Graham, epic rap battles with Sharaya J, and the comeback of Rebecca Black, people were definitely talking about The Four.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t always translated to higher ratings though. Targeting a younger audience is a strength of The Four, but most younger people are not tuning in to the show live. The clips of it are instead being watched online, on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. And while digital may be the future, Fox needs advertising dollars to keep the show on the air.
But Wade also made it clear that this won’t be the last time Fox produces new shows in this genre. With The Masked Singer just announced as well, it’s obvious he sees the value in these shows.
“People always say there are too many singing shows, too many dancing shows, too many of these shows, and my response is always, well, there are too many cop shows, too many medical shows. The reason we as executives are being drawn to these is that’s such powerful, fertile area for drama and entertainment that, of course, we’re looking in those areas.”
Long story short, these talent shows aren’t going anywhere! Not as long as Rob Wade has anything to say about them at least.