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Fox arrived at the Television Critics Association winter press tour still smarting from a horrendous fall that saw ratings plunge.

"No one's happier to turn the page and move on to a new year," Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly told reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. He bemoaned the fact that "our (new) shows weren't rejected, They weren't even sampled."

Reilly spent much of Tuesday's press conference fielding questions about the violent and explicit nature of the much-buzzed about thriller, "The Following," featuring Kevin Bacon as an FBI agent trying to match wits with a serial killer. TV violence has been a hot-topic issue at the tour in the wake of the mayhem in Connecticut and Colorado.

"I'm putting on an excellent police thriller. I'm not glorifying killers," said Reilly, who insisted that he's not "uncomfortable with anything we're putting on the air."

Reilly did acknowledge that broadcast television, while holding to certain standards, does have to find ways to compete with grittier and increasingly popular cable shows.

"We need to match the intensity, otherwise we're going to pale in comparison," he said.

Other press-tour tidbits from Fox:

  • Reilly said he expects Britney Spears to return as a judge to "The X-Factor," despite the pop star's generally poor reviews.

    "I thought she did a really good job," he said. "People are fascinated with her and always will be. Maybe people were wanting something more drastic to happen and it didn't."


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  • Fox unveiled two "major event" series now in development: "Wayward Pines," from M. Night Shyamalan ("The Sixth Sense") and "Blood Brothers," from Bruce C. McKenna ("Band of Brothers," "The Pacific").

    "Wayward Pines" is described as a "Twin Peaks"-like thriller involving an investigation into the disappearance of two missing federal agents. "Blood Brothers" is the true story of the West Point Class of 1861, which became bitterly divided over the issue of slavery.

    Both projects are being developed as 10- to 12-part miniseries.

  • Seth Rogen has been signed to a guest-star gig on "The Mindy Project." He'll play the guy who gave Mindy (Mindy Kaling) her first kiss back during a teen summer camp. The episode airs Feb. 19.

  • Plans for an "In Living Color" reboot have been scrapped for now. "It didn't come together," Reilly said.

  • "Bones" will be back. It was renewed for a ninth season.

    Reach Chuck Barney at cbarney@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/chuckbarney