In the first few minutes of a phone call with journalists Monday, Fox executives refused to address widespread reports that pop stars Demi Lovato and Britney Spears were joining Simon Cowell's The X Factor as judges.
No matter: hours later, the two pop stars stepped onstage with X Factor creator and star Simon Cowell and fellow judge Antonio "L.A." Reid during a Fox presentation to advertisers in New York, revealing one of the worst-kept secrets in TV this week.
"I am totally stoked to be here," Lovato said, displaying how much younger she is than fired female judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger. Cowell, accused of overselling X Factor in the past, still promised to "kick butt" this season.
After all, it's the upfronts; where TV networks start selling ads for new shows in the fall. Overpromising is practically a job requirement.
As a fine connoisseur of network executive BS, I was even a bit entertained by Fox entertainment chairman Peter Rice's insisting: a) There's no dissonance between touting X Factor as a success and replacing three of its five stars, and; b) They're absolutely thrilled that NBC is airing The Voice in the fall, ensuring that viewers have two singing competitions to choose from.
"There's going to be big spotlight on the The X Factor versus The Voice," Rice said. "That's lots of fun for everybody."
Unless viewers get burned out on singing shows.
Executives confirmed Glee would move to Thursdays behind X Factor, with Kate Hudson and Sarah Jessica Parker announced as guest stars. The series will feature a "show-within-a-show," following some students to college in New York and staying with others at the high school.
Former Office star Mindy Kaling wins the "luckiest girl in Hollywood" title, scoring the coveted "lead-out" time slot behind Fox's Tuesday comedy hit New Girl with her new comedy The Mindy Project.
Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly touted their new drama with Kevin Bacon as both the casting coup of the year and "our new 24"; as The Following traces an ex-FBI agent (Bacon), called out of retirement to catch a serial killer.
Cool as the 53-year-old Bacon is, Fox executives kept celebrating how their median viewer age has gone down, which sounded like "we're chasing away old viewers!" to these aging ears.