Armchair Scheduling: FOX Fall 2012

It’s been a while since I last posted but, with Upfront Week right around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to weigh in on how the fall schedules of each broadcast network may look. Last year, I started writing up these posts almost a month out, but this year that would have been nearly impossible, given the number of pilots that were turned in late and the dearth of shows earning early renewals. Even now, there are still a number of veteran series without pickups that I wouldn’t consider typical bubble shows.

Not unlike last spring, FOX has the fewest decisions to make. With a revamped X-Factor taking up 3 hours of real estate, and returning shows on every single night, they’re not likely to have more than 2 hours of new content to program. Below, I try to sort out how their schedule will look come fall.

Sunday Night

8pm: The Simpsons

8:30pm: Bob’s Burgers

9pm: Family Guy

9:30pm: The Cleveland Show

This is the same lineup I predicted FOX would run with in the fall of 2011. Instead, they opted to hold Bob’s Burgers for the spring, slotting American Dad at 9:30pm and The Cleveland Show at 8:30. Allen Gregory and Napoleon Dynamite would both inherit the 8:30pm slot in October and January, respectively. Neither performed that well and Allen Gregory has already been axed by the network. So, why wouldn’t FOX run with the 4 shows that have kept them competitive this spring? American Dad may receive yet another unwarranted reprieve and Napoleon Dynamite could conceivably return, but I don’t see either on the fall schedule.

Monday Night

8pm: Bones

9pm: Untitled Kevin Williamson Drama (aka Mastermind)

FOX wisely moved Bones to Mondays this spring, once it became clear that House was ending its run, and the show has performed admirably there. Up against stiff competition Bones keeps FOX competitive, which is all they can really ask of it. At 9pm, I expect FOX to launch their favorite drama pilot, which at this moment seems to be Kevin Williamson’s untitled serial killer drama. With an impressive cast (Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Maggie Grace and Natalie Zea) and a proven auspice in Williamson, FOX could potentially have a huge hit on their hands. That said, like Terra Nova, Williamson’s pilot has a finite episode order (15), which could scare FOX into holding it until midseason where it could run uninterrupted. If they do hold Williamson’s pilot, I can see the less serial Untitled Berman & Wright Project getting a fall birth.

Tuesday Night

8pm: Raising Hope

8:30pm: Little Brother Ben & Kate (aka Ned Fox is My Manny)

9pm: New Girl

9:30pm: It’s Messy (aka Untitled Mindy Kaling Project)

From the moment FOX gave Mindy Kaling’s pilot the green-light, it was clear the project would be paired with New Girl. Having read the script, I can tell you the shows have very similar sensibilities. The 8pm hour is less set in stone. FOX chief Kevin Reilly has made it clear he wants to build a night of live-action comedies, much like the network tried this spring. And, while Breaking In and Teenage Daughter showed little life, Raising Hope retained most of its audience after a move to 8pm. The sheer number of preemptions FOX faces in the fall with baseball and the presidential debates would make it difficult to launch 3 new comedies, which likely keeps Raising Hope on the schedule. Behind it, I can see FOX launching the John Stamos vehicle Little Brother. They have a number of strong comedy pilots in the pipeline but none pair with Hope quite as well.  FOX executives announced yesterday that Little Brother is no long in contention. I now expect Ben & Kate, which I initially had slotted for midseason, to slot in at 8:30pm

PS: Friend of the site @BigTVFan posted an insightful article on the number of preemptions networks face this fall, earlier today. Read it HERE.

Wednesday Night

8pm: X-Factor

Not much to say here. This is happening.

Thursday Night

8pm: The X-Factor

9pm: Glee

Glee’s ratings have been flagging and X-Factor was no American Idol but they could theoretically prop each other up on a musically themed Thursday night. With new judges and a new host The X-Factor will attract eyeballs for at least a few weeks, and the same goes for Glee given the overhaul it is expected to undergo. I’ve seen a few individuals suggest that FOX will hold Glee until January; I don’t see how that benefits them or the show.

Friday Night

8pm: Kitchen Nightmares

9pm: Fringe

Fringe is guaranteed to be back on Fridays this fall for its final string of episodes. Kitchen Nightmares won its time-slot more often than not this fall. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Midseason

American Idol

Touch

Untitled Karyn Usher Pilot

The Mob Doctor (aka Untitled Berman & Wright Project)

Rebounding

Ned Fox is My Manny 

The Goodwin Games

A month ago, I would have said Touch was a lock for renewal. A week ago, I would have said Touch was dead. A few days ago, I read an article saying Touch is a foreign cash cow. Thus, I expect Touch to return at some point next year, but I’m not sure when. It is possible that FOX will ship the show to Fridays after Fringe wraps up its run and accept the fact that it’s not a hit. Alcatraz and The Finder both underwhelmed. Neither will be back. As for the new dramas in development, it looks like the Berman/Wright project is going forward (possibly in the fall, as I mentioned above). That likely knocks the Cuba Gooding Jr. vehicle Guilty out of the running, which is a shame because he is destined to be a TV star. FOX has two female oriented spy pilots contending for the final midseason birth. I’d give the edge to Karyn Usher’s.

Guessing how many comedies FOX will order for midseason is trickier. They may want to stock up in the event that things fail in the fall, but I can’t see them ordering more than 3. Rebounding is a near lock. They spent a lot of money to acquire it. 20th Century owns the rights. Will Forte is a name brand. And, most importantly, it’s funny. Really funny.  Rebounding is no longer in play at FOX, but is being shopped to other networks. Ned Fox is My Manny is the only pilot besides Mindy Kaling’s with a female in the lead role, which likely gives it an advantage, especially if FOX decides that female skewing comedies are their niche.  Apparently, I underestimated the advantage a strong female lead would give Ned Fox as it is now headed for the fall. As for the third comedy, I’m really just guessing it’ll be The Goodwin Games. I really liked the script for Bill Lawrence’s Like Father and El Jefe falls under Reilly’s mandate for ethnic diversity on TV, but I’ve heard mixed things about their finished pilots. The Goodwin Games comes from How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bayes and Craig Thomas and sports Scott Foley and Becki Newton as two of its three leads, so even if the pilot is imperfect there are a number of upsides that could help it earn a pickup.

Update: As commenter Andrew Rabin points out down below, American Dad has already been renewed. Expect to see it back at some point.

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7 Responses to Armchair Scheduling: FOX Fall 2012

  1. arrabin56 says:

    I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing American Idol might be picked up as a midseason show as well ;-).

    And American Dad was already renewed, so at minimum it should pop up midseason, although that could certainly be a 7:30 on Sundays post-NFL season run-off

  2. Sydney says:

    I really want to see Cuba Gooding Jr on the silver screen!!! Come on FOX!!

  3. dkd says:

    People seem to be mum on the Zachary Levi comedy pilot “Let it Go”. I wonder what happened with that.

  4. I’m reaaly hoping that The GOODWIN GAME’S” get’s picked up! Great cast and Director. It sound’s really interesting,and everyone likes a little competition so let the Games begin.

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