Yesterday I confessed my not-at-all strange habit (really!) of casting myself in the role of network scheduler as I fall asleep at night, and predicted what NBC’s schedule would look like in advance of their upfront presentation on Monday. Today I turn my attention to Fox, who will also present their lineup on Monday.
Just a couple of years ago Fox seemed to be on top of the TV world — American Idol was a seemingly unstoppable force, The X Factor was on the horizon looking like the next big thing, Glee was one of the hottest scripted shows on the air, and New Girl seemed to be making the very most of Zooey Deschanel’s considerable charms. Fast forward a couple of seasons and Idol has seen an alarming drop in the ratings and has been eclipsed by The Voice as television’s most popular singing competition, The X Factor never became the break-out hit Simon Cowell predicted it would be, and the singing and dancing kids on Glee have lost a lot of their mojo. New Girl is Fox’s best rated comedy, but it’s lost a substantial portion of its inaugural season’s ratings.
All four of those shows will be back at some point during this season, as will the dependable Sunday animated block; Bones, a solid utility player that is getting up in their age (like way there in age); The Following, which showed some ratings muscle in midseason; the reliable if uninspiring Raising Hope; and The Mindy Project, which, based on rating alone, certainly did not warrant a renewal. (Despite it’s schizophrenia throughout the season, I personally adore Mindy Kaling and love the show, and am thrilled that Fox took a chance on bringing it back, no matter how foolish a business decision it may have been.)
So, with three of their ten weekly hours going to singing competitions, and despite the fact that they’ve got an aging stable of shows, Fox actually doesn’t have that many holes on it’s schedule to fill this year. But if they are looking to the future — and I presume they must be — they will order more than the two new dramas they ordered this past season. That came back to bite them in the ass when The Mob Doctor stumbled out of the gate and they had no choice but to leave it where it was because they had nothing to replace it with.
Though they’ve threatened to put it on Friday’s in the past it’s hard to imagine Fox will mess with the stability of having Bones kick off the week on Monday’s at 8PM. The Following will almost definitely be held for midseason, meaning the 9PM slot is ripe for a new drama, especially considering it’s likely to be the only non-CW drama on the air at that time (opposite reality shows on NBC and ABC and comedies on CBS). Will it be the gothic crime drama Sleepy Hollow? The JJ Abrams’ produced Human? The promising sounding Boomerang, starring Felicity Huffman and Anthony Lapaglia? The gritty Gang Related? I’m guessing they will take the uninspired way out and schedule Rake, starring Greg Kinnear as an irrascible criminal defense lawyer. After all, that’s where the great irrascible doctor House lived for many years. Yawn.
The Tuesday four-comedy experiment this past season was a big bust, so I find it hard to believe Kevin Reilly and company will make that mistake again. I’m thinking they will move Glee back to it’s 8PM slot to begin the night, leading into New Girl and new comedy Us and Them (formerly called Friends and Family), starring Gilmore Girl’s Alexis Bledel and the adorable Jason Ritter from Parenthood and Joan of Arcadia, with The Mindy Project saved for midseason.
While The X Factor has not set the Nielsen ratings on fire, it is one of Fox’s more successful performers, so I’m guessing they’ll keep it in residence on Wednesday. I’m tempted to predict they’ll shorten the Thursday results show to just a half hour (remember the days when results shows were only a half hour??), but as you’ll see below I have an hour-long The X Factor leading into two new comedies — Surviving Jack (formerly I Suck at Girls, and before that Untitled Halpern/Schumacker) and Brooklyn Nine-Nine (formerly Untitled Dan Goor/Mike Schur), starring Christopher Meloni and Andy Samberg, respectively. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be in business with those guys?
Fridays are tough for any network, and Fox is no exception. This is where Fringe was able to (barely) exist for several seasons with virtually no ratings expectations. Will this be where they put Gang Related, Boomerang or teen drama Delirium? Possibly. For now, though, I’m predicting tried-and-true Kitchen Nightmares will lead into Human, maintaining the presence of a JJ Abrams show on Friday nights following this year’s cancellation of Fringe.
I feel hardly equipped to comment on Fox’s plans for Sundays, since I haven’t watched any of their animated shows, um, ever. (Even The Simpsons. Sue me.) But from what I’ve been reading Seth McFarland’s Dads may need a bit of retooling, so I’m guessing that will be held for midseason.
So there it is — my predictions on Fox’s fall schedule. Thoughts? Not particularly exciting, is it? I’m more than welcome to them surprising me, but I’m not holding my breath.
9:00-10:00 Rake (New drama)
9:00-9:30 New Girl (New comedy)
9:30-10:00 Us and Them (New comedy)
8:00-10:00 The X Factor
8:00-9:00 The X Factor
9:00-9:30 Surviving Jack (New Comedy)
9:30-10:00 Brooklyn 99 (New comedy)
8:00-9:00 Kitchen Nightmares
8:00-8:30 The Simpsons
8:30-9:00 Bob’s Burgers
9:00-9:30 Family Guys
9:30-10:00 American Dad