Fox Family Channel last week named Emmy Award-winningproducer Eytan Keller to the newly created position of senior vice president ofreality-based programming and specials, which will be key elements of the network'snew primetime block.
In fact, Keller said he has a "broad mandate" toinitially focus on developing primetime "reality comedy" for Fox Family,currently The Family Channel, which will relaunch with the new name and a new scheduleAug. 15. Keller said he is also considering a half-hour reality-based action show and a"reality" game show that will be irreverent and funny.
Keller is the first major primetime-programming executiveto be brought on board to Fox Family by Haim Saban, chairman and CEO of Fox Kids WorldwideInc. Saban's other big hire, former Nick at Nite senior vice president and Nick atNite's TV Land president Rich Cronin, can't join Fox Family as president untilJuly 1.
Fox Kids, a partnership of Saban Entertainment and NewsCorp., purchased The Family Channel last year. Fox Kids is relaunching the network thissummer, with a daytime schedule aimed at kids and an evening lineup aimed at families.
Most recently, Keller was head of his own company, KellerProductions Inc. He has also been executive producer/director of World's FunniestVideos and America's Funniest People for ABC, as well as producing twoseasons of American Gladiators.
From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Fox Family will air a block oforiginals that will include reality-based shows and scripted sitcoms, as well as somespecials, according to Keller. There are plans for at least five half-hour shows, with afew backups also in the works. No pilots have been announced yet.
From 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., Fox Family will run movies, headded.
Fox Family has received nonstop pitches about programideas, and its "schedule will be the best of those pitches from outside of thecompany, and shows developed internally," Keller said.
Fox Family wants its primetime programming to "have anedge, but to still be shows that families can watch ... and laugh and enjoy,"according to Keller.
"We have a tremendous brand with Fox, and we'remarrying it to The Family Channel," he said.
In terms of the reality-based comedies in the works, hesaid, "The concepts that we are going with are original ... and many are unexplored.We're charting some new territory in the way that they are executed."
The network is targeting 18- to 49-year-olds in primetime,according to Keller.
Fox Family will also air a number of specials,which are under Keller's bailiwick, as well. Some will be holiday-oriented, forChristmas and Halloween, while another one might be annual, to help Fox Family branditself, he added.