Monday, May 16, 2011

FOX's Fall 2011 Schedule

Note: FOX's Upfront isn't until later the afternoon, so there aren't any clips up yet for new shows. As such, this first update (12:45 PM-EST) will not include any first impressions any of the new shows (with the exception of Terra Nova and The X Factor, a pair of special cases as you will see). Those will be up later on. For the time being, however I will talk about the rearranging of the schedule and some of the choices made, or what I can say about it.

The FOX Broadcasting Company is in first place among the key demographic of 18-49 year-olds, and is certainly most dominant with shows that permeated popular culture. From The Simpsons leaving a mark so indelible that the show can't seem to leave the air at all, to contempory/knock-off Family Guy being unable to fail at leaving an impression. And then you have the burgeoning musical talents on American Idol, going hand-in-hand with the musical phenomenon of Glee.

In the fall we get another talent competition, and at that one with the key American Idol judge onboard. This resulted in a number of shows getting cut, all to acomodate this new kind of bold move on FOX's part. And the new line also includes a major innovative drama launching as well.

Also of note is FOX's midseason schedule, which was announced alongside their fall lineup. New shows to look for there include dramas Alcatraz and Bones spin-off The Finder, along with animated sitcom Napoleon Dynamite. Returning shows include American Idol, the perennial singing competition and the animated Bob's Burgers.

Here's the lineup for the fall, slightly-above-average-viewer commentary for each night.


8/7c - TERRA NOVA (New Drama; Time-travelers from 2149 go to prehistoric times in a bid to save the planet and escape the deteriorating conditions of their time. From executive producer Steven Spielberg)
9/8c - House (Drama; 8th Season)

On Mondays, we are unloaded with one of the big new dramas that FOX actually picked up to series months before the upfronts -- Terra Nova. In fact, previews for this new series were up and running as early as the Super Bowl. FOX's intention was to air the pilot as a sneak preview at the end of the season, implementing a strategy akin to how the Tuesday night hit Glee was launched. However, issues with special effects on the series delayed the first episode, and the special launch plan was shelved. A look at one of several promos you can find on YouTube clearly plays up the environmental overtones, with the premise of human beings travelling to prehistory from the quickly-dying future. The characters talk about "starting over" and imply their intentions to stay in the past. Certainly a show which already grabs your attention, doing so with topics that are more than familiar and have proven irritatingly repetitive in the past. Already, it's guaranteed to attract plenty of viewers with such a curious hook. And ambitious enough to lead into established hit House on this night.


8/7c - Glee (Drama; 3rd Season)
9/8c - NEW GIRL (New Comedy; Romantic sitcom with Zooey Deschanel, who moves in with three men after a breakup)
9:30/8:30c - Raising Hope (Comedy; 2nd Season)

First impressions of New Girl will come later. Right now, I will point out that the single-camera setup of this show is the main reason it's been not only paired with Raising Hope, a sophomore family comedy that's proven more successful for FOX than most recent live-action sitcoms, but also leading into it. Otherwise, this will be the second time FOX has put the latter show with a relationship comedy, the first the now-cancelled Traffic Light, which led out of it. Otherwise, the best decision regarding this setup is what the industry calls "hammocking", with the new show leading out the very popular musical comedy Glee.


8/7c - THE X FACTOR (New Reality; Simon Cowell's hit UK Talent Competition makes it's much-hyped US debut)
9:30/8:30c - I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER (New Comedy; Jaime Pressley plays a mother in this mother-daughter comedy)

The X Factor is Simon Cowell's new reality competition, clearly meant as a companion piece to his old stomping ground American Idol. This will only be the second time FOX tries a major reality show in the Fall for two big cycles a year. The first was So You Think You Can Dance, the summer hit which tried a fall run in 2008 and has since stuck to summer runs. The buildup for this new show has been immense, as promos have been running for months before this upfront. I personally am not much into reality TV and seldom watch Idol, so I am one of those less inclined to tune in. Also listed above is a multi-camera comedy, which I do not have any impressions of yet. However, I will right now point out what I wrote about Whitney on my commentaty on the NBC Preview, and add some more about FOX. FOX had shows like Malcom in the Middle and The Bernie Mac Show in the past and helped to move us toward single-camera comedies about ten years ago. Furthermore, with the debacle that was Do Not Disturb back in 2008, I previously thought FOX was done entirely with traditional-styled sitcoms. That this new show is airing after a reality show that offers the likelihood of frequent pre-emptions, it would not surprise me if this were a sort of sacrificial lamb of a scheduling, as much as a small experiment on the network's part.


8/7c - THE X FACTOR RESULTS (New Reality)
9/8c - Bones (Drama; 7th Season)

And we have The X Factor's second night of shows, leading into a new season of everyone's favorite screwball chemistry-driven cop show. Also of note is Emily Deschanel's impending maternity leave. This will give the show a break mid-season, in which time it's spinoff The Finder will get a go-around. Certainly an interesting approach, in this world where spinoffs like that usually goon after the series that spawned them.


8/7c - Kitchen Nightmares (Reality; 5th Season)
9/8c - Fringe (Drama; 4th Season)

Perhaps most surpising is that Friday nights remain consistant, with a reality series leading into a genre show. Fringe may be the luckiest FOX genre show of all, going into it's fourth season in the wake of many a cult of getting cancelled by the same network. It's ratings have wavered from good given the night its on, slinking down but not too offensively, and keeping the tremendous fortune of good faith with the network all throughout.


8/7c - Cops (Reality; 24th Season)
9/8c - Encores/America's Most Wanted (Specials)

Far more surprising is that FOX is changing their Saturday night schedule, announcing that America's Most Wanted has been cancelled. Or rather, that it's being limited to the occasional special. Cops will stay put, at least for the time being, but it never occured to me even once that either show was in trouble, even with the occasional pre-emption in favor of a Proctor & Gamble family-friendly telefilm. In hindsight though, the fact that these shows took the night off so a singular sponsor could buy entire blocks of time isn't so surprising, especially with one executive saying that America's Most Wanted isn't as lucrative as it once was. I guess this is a just sign of the times (along with ABC's efforts to get out of the soap opera business).


(Discounting NFL Overrun)
7:30/8:30c - The Cleveland Show (Comedy; 3rd Season)
8/7c - The Simpsons (Comedy; 23rd Season)
8:30/7:30c - ALLEN GREGORY (New Comedy; Animated series about a seven-year-old child prodigy who tries to blend in at an ordinary school. Jonah Hill voices the lead)
9/8c - Family Guy (Comedy; 10th Season)
9:30/8:30c - American Dad! (Comedy; 7th Season)

And finally, we have Animation Domination. This constitutes the network's greatest contributions to TV pop culture, with The Simpsons and Family Guy serving as the block's cornerstones. Of the two shows sharing crews and producers with Family Guy, of note is the fact that American Dad! is now going to lead out of the major hit. Meanwhile Family Guy's own spinoff, The Cleveland Show is now getting the more precarious 7:30 slot against NFL coverage (although that may not be the case with the lockout). This past season, the slots for each show were reversed when accomodating Bob's Burgers. And we have one new animated sitcom, Allen Gregory in the fall this time. Watch this space for my impressions of it later.

Among the FOX shows getting the axe, The Chicago Code, The Good Guys, Human Target, Lone Star, Lie to Me, Running Wilde, and Traffic Light are all gone. As of this writing, Breaking In was announced as cancelled, but has scored a reprive and potential for renewal. A new episode will follow Raising Hope this week and serve as a test for it.

1 comment:

  1. YES!! I love Fringe :) I already can't wait to see what they do with the next season!!!
    <3 Mary