Armchair Scheduling: FOX Fall 2011

The end of pilot season is upon us, and that means speculation about what shows will go to series is about to begin. Yesterday, the somewhat elusive @BigTVFan posted what he thinks FOX’s fall schedule will look like and,  earlier today, Deadline Hollywood ran their first of several articles charting the rise and fall of pilots.  With Upfronts Week still a month out, any armchair scheduling done by myself or others is largely speculative. It’s based on trends we’ve seen, things we’ve heard, and sometimes (at least in my case) wishful thinking.

As BigTVFan noted in his piece, FOX is probably the easiest to pencil in, simply because they have fewer hours to fill than their competitors. X-Factor will make its triumphant debut this fall and fill close to 3 hours a week, leaving precious little real estate for new scripted programming. But, given the buzz surrounding nearly all of their drama pilots, FOX president Kevin Reilly may actually have the hardest job in town. That being said, down below I’ve included my thoughts on what FOX’s schedule might look like when its unveiled May 16th.

Sunday Night

8pm: The Simpsons

8:30pm: Bob’s Burgers

9pm: Family Guy

9:30pm: The Cleveland Show

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Fox has 7 animated comedies in the works for next season, including an animated version of Napoleon Dynamite and Jonah Hill’s Allen Gregory. I suspect those two shows will be held until midseason, when FOX can better promote their debuts. Of the returning 5 series, one will likely be forced to sit out in the fall due to FOX’s football coverage, and my gut says it’ll be American Dad.

Monday Night

8pm: House

9pm: Terra Nova

For the better part of this winter, I was convinced that FOX would slot JJ Abrams’ Alcatraz behind House, even as numerous other critics told me otherwise. Then, I started to wonder if Weekends At Bellevue would be FOX’s dark-horse pilot. It received a late pick-up from the network, who loved Lisa Zwerling’s script, and had former FOX chief Gail Berman executive producing. Moreover, it seems like a natural companion for House. But, the recent string of stories about FOX executives’ contempt for Terra Nova has convinced me that it’ll likely wind up airing after House. If faith in the series has already diminished, giving it the post X-Factor birth seems like an ill-advised idea.

Tuesday Night

8pm: Glee

9pm: Raising Hope

9:30pm: Council of Dads

Glee stays put at 8pm, where is has gained a foothold this season. The 9pm hour listed above is an example of me not letting wishful thinking dominate my armchair scheduling. If I had my way that hour would be Zooey Deschanel’s new comedy series The New Girl followed by the Zach Gilford vehicle Iceland, both of which would likely appeal more to the sensibilities Glee’s audience. Still, FOX seems committed to Raising Hope, so I tend to think it’ll stay put. Of the three family comedies FOX has in the pipeline, Council of Dads seems like the safest bet. The Deadline article cited above claims FOX brass were underwhelmed by Family Album and the less said about Little in Common the better.

Wednesday Night

8pm: X-Factor

9:30: The New Girl

X-Factor will slide into the timeslot American Idol has taken roost in this spring, leaving room for a 30 minute comedy to air behind it. Part of me remains convinced that FOX will renew Breaking In and hold it until midseason like they did with Brett Harrison’s The Loop several years ago. The New Girl, which hails from No Strings Attached scribe Liz Meriwether’s and has a bonafide star in Zooey Deschanel, will instead get this plum spot.

Thursday Night

8pm: X-Factor (Results Show)

9pm: Alcatraz

As I explained above, execs have more faith in Alcatraz at this point, so giving it the best chance to succeed only makes sense.

Friday Night

8pm: The Chicago Code

9pm: Fringe

If you’d asked me a week ago, I’d have said Bones was headed to Friday nights come fall. But, Hart Hanson suggested earlier this week that Emily Deschanel’s pregnancy would result in an abbreviated season, keeping it off the schedule. Because of this, I think The Chicago Code will get another 13 episode order and a fall run. Neither Lie to Me nor Human Target were as consistent during their respective runs and, while Human Target’s highs were higher than The Chicago Code’s, TCC has the benefit of being a freshman series. Fringe, which has already been renewed, will very likely remain where it is.

Midseason

Kitchen Nightmares

Bones

Weekends at Bellevue

Breaking In

Iceland

Exit Strategy or Lock & Key


How many spots does FOX have on its midseason slate? Last spring, the network ordered 3 dramas and 2 comedies. Assuming they do the same this year, I suspect we’ll see Bones picked up and held, which leaves room for two additional drama pilots. I honestly believe that Weekends at Bellevue will be given a shot, because of its procedural nature, its all-star cast, and the fact that Jack Bender helmed the pilot. Of the remaining 3 drama pilots FOX has in contention, I suspect The Finder maybe DOA. Locke & Key and Exit Strategy both sport Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci as EPs and they both have big time film directors behind the camera in Mark Romanek and Antoine Fuqua, respectively. The difference maker here could be Ethan Hawke, whose star power maybe enough to give Exit Strategy the slight edge. FOX also has the off-cycle Tim Kring pilot Touch in development, but I don’t see that launching until Fall 2012.


On the comedy side, I see Breaking In scoring another abbreviated run, if it maintains the viewership it pulled last week. That leaves room for one more comedy, which I sincerely hope will be Community writer Andy Bobrow’s Iceland Kitchen Nightmares will be used as a stop-gap, in the event that one of FOX’s scripted offerings goes the way of Lone Star.






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3 Responses to Armchair Scheduling: FOX Fall 2011

  1. Pingback: Guessing The Upfronts: First Up – FOX | Random Musings from a BigTVfan

  2. Pingback: Armchair Scheduling: CBS Fall 2011 « TV Musings and Thoughts

  3. Pingback: Armchair Scheduling: The CW Fall 2011 « TV Musings and Thoughts

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