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Monday, May 16, 2016

UPFRONTS 2016: FOX's Official Fall Schedule

Here is the FOX schedule! They revealed both fall and midseason plans.

Past FOX schedules: 2015   2014   2013   2012   2011

8:00 Gotham (3rd Season)
9:00 Lucifer (2nd Season)
FOX is keeping its Monday pair from the spring in tact for the fall after they proved to be a surprisingly sturdy pair. This isn't a very exciting decision but honestly, Mondays was the least of FOX's worries (besides Wednesdays) this season. 24: Legacy (premiering after the Super Bowl) and A.P.B. will take this slot temporarily in the winter before Gotham and Lucifer return.

8:00 Brooklyn Nine-Nine (4th Season)
8:30 New Girl (6th Season)
9:00 Scream Queens (2nd Season)
FOX is throwing up the white flag on Tuesdays which I guess makes sense to an extent as there will be baseball, debate, and election pre-emptions in the fall. So, they will go with three shows with very little upside left. New Girl had a little bit of a rebound at 8pm this past season but it is oddly going to 8:30pm. Brooklyn Nine-Nine has the difficult task of starting off the night while season two of Scream Queens gets to come back to the same slot even though it disappointed in a big way this past year. At midseason, FOX plans to run both Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl at 8pm at varying times followed by new comedy The Mick at 8:30pm and then reality show Kicking & Screaming in the winter followed by Pitch in the spring at 9pm.

9:00 Empire (3rd Season)
Well, Empire is staying at 9pm and has a new show with it on the night, but it is oddly paired with Lethal Weapon instead of Star. Star will instead serve as a bridge series between the two runs of Empire. I don't know what I think about this move. They seem like they should be paired together, at least at first until Star proves itself capable of being a hit. Also, Lethal Weapon doesn't seem like a great match for Empire, at least on the surface. I feel like FOX misplayed this night in general. In addition to the Star bridging, there are also plans for Shots Fired to replace Lethal Weapon at some point in the spring.

8:00 Rosewood (2nd Season)
9:00 Bones (12th Season)
In yet another night of uninspired scheduling, FOX is basically throwing the towel in on Thursdays just as they are on Tuesdays. Rosewood will leave its comfy lead-in to Empire slot and will instead be the opening to Thursday where it will be paired with the final season of Bones. We've all seen what Rosewood does without an Empire lead-in and Bones has nothing left so this will probably be a rough night. There are plans for the Prison Break revival to replace the shortened season of Bones.

8:00 Hell's Kitchen (16th Edition)
Friday nights are not thrown to the wolves like Tuesdays and Thursdays. FOX is actually trying something here with a "hell" themed night, I guess. Hell's Kitchen will return to 8pm where it has done OK by Friday standards. It will lead into the new horror drama The Exorcist. I don't really understand why of all the slots on the network, FOX is choosing to air this against what could arguably be the most similar show on broadcast - Grimm on NBC. It will be a tall order for The Exorcist to get any kind of traction but maybe FOX isn't expecting much. The spring plan is Masterchef Junior followed by Sleepy Hollow.

8:00 FOX Sports Saturday

7:00 NFL Overrun/The OT/Animated Encores
7:30 Bob's Burgers (7th Season)
8:00 The Simpsons (28th Season)
9:00 Family Guy (14th Season)
9:30 The Last Man on Earth (3rd Season)
FOX is adding one new sitcom to the Sunday night mix but otherwise leaving the lineup the same as it began last fall. Instead of Brooklyn Nine-Nine at 8:30pm will be the oddball animated/live action hybrid comedy Son of Zorn from the creators of The Last Man on Earth. It seems like a tonal fit with Last Man, so it may be OK airing out of The Simpsons and with an indirect NFL lead-in on many weeks. This will be a lineup that's survivable in the fall but will struggle in the spring. The plan is for comedy Making History to replace Son of Zorn at midseason, probably premiering during NFL playoffs.

As I already outlined night by night, all these shows except the unscripted My Kitchen Rules already have a scheduled place at midseason. Now what will FOX do if something completely tanks? Probably keep airing it as they did with Minority Report. Missing from this list but fully expected to return as soon as details are negotiated is another short season of The X-Files.

CANCELLED/ENDED: American Grit, American Idol, Bordertown, Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life, Grandfathered, The Grinder, Minority Report, Second Chance, World's Funniest

If NBC's schedule was disappointing, FOX's schedule is flat out stupid. At least their fall one, their midseason one is more promising. But for the fall, FOX is basically surrendering on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mondays are not anything special and Wednesdays are mishandled. There were reports that FOX was touting stability but why for a network that struggled so horribly this year? I get NBC to an extent because they have a lot of things working but FOX? Nothing is going right for them outside of Empire and, to an extent, Mondays. They also have several promising shows. The trailers for A.P.B., Making History, Pitch, Shots Fired, and Star all looked promising to me yet they are only going with three shows in the fall? And of those three shows, one is buried on Fridays, one seems doomed to fail on Wednesdays, and one is probably no better than a niche show on Sundays. I just don't get FOX saving everything for midseason especially when they have the NFL in the fall and will of course have eyeballs watching Empire. As I said before, the midseason schedule looks better but I worry all these promising new shows are going to have troubling launching.

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