Monday, May 15, 2017

2017 Fall Schedule: FOX

Monday

8:00 - Lucifer (New Timeslot)
9:00 - The Gifted (NEW)

Middling performer Lucifer shifts up an hour to lead into the new Marvel X-Men series, directed by the film franchise's Bryan Singer, The Gifted at 9:00. Time will tell if this is a smart move (after all, a series based on such a high-profile property should be able to find an audience on its own), but launching a male-skewing series against Monday Night Football doesn't immediately strike me as the smartest move.

Tuesday

8:00 - Lethal Weapon (New Timeslot)
9:00 - The Mick (New Timeslot)
9:30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine (New Timeslot)

A night full of minor changes. Lethal Weapon proved this spring that it could do okay without Empire by its side (which is more than could be said of sophomore failure Rosewood), so it gets to lead off a new comedy night. Now that the sitcoms will air an hour later, they'll go head-to-head with NBC's Superstore and The Good Place, and possibly with another sitcom block from ABC.

Wednesday

8:00 - Empire (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Star (New Timeslot)

Someone at Fox got the memo that these shows should be paired together and made it happen; why they waited a full year until Empire's ratings sunk is the question.

Thursday

8:00 - Gotham (New Timeslot)
9:00 - The Orville (NEW)

An all-genre night, Gotham will lead into the new sci-fi Seth MacFarlane dramedy The Orville, which will have the unfortunate distinction of going head-to-head with This Is Us and Thursday Night Football (and possibly the final season of Scandal, unless ABC moves it or holds it for midseason). In other words, this pairing isn't a bad idea, but Thursday is probably not the best night for it.

Friday

8:00 - Hell's Kitchen (New Timeslot)
9:00 - The Exorcist

This lineup is the same as it started last season, before Hell's Kitchen was moved to Thursdays in January, so I have to think this is the one case in which Fox just gave up. The Exorcist was an excellent adaptation that almost no one watched, so I'm not sure how it even managed a second season, but when you have as many ratings woes as Fox currently does, you have to worry about other areas of the schedule first, I guess.

Sunday

7:30 - The OT/Bob's Burgers (New Timeslot)
8:00 - The Simpsons
8:30 - Ghosted (NEW)
9:00 - Family Guy
9:30 - The Last Man on Earth

Another consistent schedule from the network, with utility player Bob's Burgers again sacrificed to the football gods in the 7:30 slot to make way for new comedy Ghosted. Fox hasn't had the best luck with launching new shows in the 8:30 slot, especially in the fall when football overrun is common, but maybe this one will be the one that sticks.

Midseason

Unlike last year, Fox has not released a preliminary midseason schedule. They will have two new dramas, The Resident and 9-1-1; a new 10-episode season of The X Files; new comedy LA to Vegas; the final season of New Girl; and the returns of Masterchef and Masterchef Junior. Also joining at midseason is the Steve Harvey-hosted Showtime at the Apollo. Fox will also air a live musical event in December, A Christmas Story, based on the beloved film and stage musical by Oscar winners Pasek and Paul. In the spring, they will air a live production of Rent, celebrating the musical's 20th anniversary.

It's slim pickings over at Fox these days, with many returning shows being mediocre ratings performers and few new shows ordered for 2017-2018. I will say they took some risks with this schedule, with almost no lineup remaining the same from this current season. But not all of those risks feel like they'll pay off. Obviously this is just my knee-jerk reaction, but it seems like placing your highest profile new show on a busy night (Monday) up against some of the week's biggest telecasts (football, The Voice) isn't the best decision. Seeing NBC's schedule yesterday might have given me pause if I were Fox about launching a brand-new show on Thursdays at 9, seeing as that's when This Is Us will air, not to mention another night of football.

Furthermore, it's time to start thinking about what happens to this network when Empire runs its course. This wasn't an issue this time last year, but since then Empire has fallen back to Earth with consistently-dropping ratings since it returned to the air in March. It is still Fox's highest-rated show and it's in no danger of going anywhere, but it's got to be a reality check for the network. With this fall schedule, they're clearly trying to groom Star as something of a successor. The Gifted may take off (though we saw with Gotham and Agents of SHIELD that even if it has initial curiosity, shows don't typically sustain those stratospheric numbers), but what else here is there? Lucifer is entering its third season and is unlikely to attract new viewers. The Exorcist may improve Friday ratings over the abysmal Rosewood-Sleepy Hollow pairing of the spring, but its highest ratings are still nearly fractional. The Sunday night lineup is nothing like it used to be, with The Last Man on Earth particularly struggling as it enters a fourth season (though the addition of Kristen Wigg may help things a bit). At this point, Fox really only has Empire to depend on, so they have to be hoping and praying that something goes right with these new shows and moves... I just don't see it happening to the degree it needs to.

Click after the jump for descriptions of Fox's new 2017-2018 series.

Comedy

Ghosted - Starring Craig Robinson (The Office, This Is the End) and Adam Scott (Parks & Recreation, Big Little Lies), Ghosted is a single-camera, action-comedy about the unlikely partnership between two down-on-their-luck polar opposites tasked with an even more unlikely mission: saving the human race from aliens. Leroy Wright (Robinson) is a cynical skeptic and former missing persons detective, who, if we’re speaking frankly, thinks that “aliens” are a big ole bunch of B.S. and that people who believe in them are certifiably nuts…People like Max Jennifer (Scott). Max is a genius “true believer” in the paranormal who’s convinced his wife was abducted by aliens. At low points in their lives, both Leroy and Max are recruited by Captain Ava LaFrey (Ally Walker, Colony, Sons of Anarchy), a take-no-prisoners, former Air Force test pilot and head of the Bureau Underground, a secret government organization investigating paranormal cases. Lafrey, along with her staff – Barry Shaw (Adeel Akhtar, The Night Manager), an overly friendly forensic pathologist, and Delilah Ward, a highly opinionated tech specialist – will support Leroy and Max in their quest for answers. Now, this heroic group of underdogs will look into “unexplained” activity in Los Angeles that often leads them to scary, thrilling and hilarious places, as they attempt to uncover the truth and keep the earth rotating on its axis for at least one more day.

LA to Vegas - From executive producers Will Ferrell (“Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Elf), Adam McKay (The Big Short), Lon Zimmet (Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt) and Steve Levitan (Modern Family), LA to Vegas is a single-camera ensemble comedy about an airline crew and the eccentric passengers who, every weekend, take the roundtrip flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas with one goal in mind – to come back a winner. Welcome to Jackpot Airlines, a budget carrier whose junket flight from LA to Vegas and back again, is filled with dreamers looking for that big score. Holding (or, more to the point, barely holding) these voyages together is Ronnie (Kim Matula, UnREAL), a long-suffering flight attendant who tries to keep her cool (oftentimes, with little success) whether she’s dealing with a bi-polar bride-to-be or the dead body in Row 13. Managing the revolving door of bachelor parties and 21st birthdays gets even trickier when Ronnie develops a “location-ship” with Colin (Ed Weeks, The Mindy Project), a regular passenger and an economics professor, whose son and soon-to-be ex-wife live in Vegas. Further complicating her job every weekend is Captain Dave (Emmy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Dylan McDermott, The Practice, American Horror Story), the narcissistic pilot whose fighter-pilot dreams never quite worked out; Bernard (Nathan Lee Graham, The Comeback, Hitch), the always-positive career flight attendant who thinks there’s no flight more magical than the LA-to-Vegas; Artem (Peter Stormare, The Big Lebowski), the genial professional gambler who serves as the plane’s resident (but unofficial) bookie; and Nichole (Olivia Macklin, The Young Pope), the sweet-natured, part-time stripper who’s a lot savvier than people realize. It won’t be easy, but this unlikely group of miscreants and dreamers will eventually go from being strangers on a plane to a supportive, if unconventional, family…from Friday to Sunday…whether they like it or not.

Drama

The Gifted - The Gifted tells the story of a suburban couple whose ordinary lives are rocked by the sudden discovery that their children possess mutant powers. Reed (Stephen Moyer, Shots Fired, True Blood) and Caitlin (Amy Acker, Person of Interest) Strucker are typical middle-class parents dealing with the realities of raising a family. However, when their teenage kids, Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind, Gotham) and Andy (Percy Hynes White, Night at the Museum 3), are involved in an incident at their high school which reveals they are mutants, Reed and Caitlin do all in their power to protect their children. Forced to go on the run, the Struckers must leave behind their old lives to flee from a relentless government agency that tracks down mutants, the Sentinel Services, which includes Agent Jace Turner (Coby Bell, Burn Notice). Complicating matters further is the fact that Reed is a prosecutor in the district attorney’s office tasked with going after mutants. Desperate and running low on options, the family’s only choice is to contact an underground network that helps mutants in trouble. The mutants in the network – Eclipse / Marcos Diaz (Sean Teale, Reign), Blink / Clarice Fong (Jamie Chung, Gotham), Polaris / Lorna Dane (Emma Dumont, Aquarius) and Thunderbird / John Proudstar (Blair Redford, Satisfaction) – are dealing with their own issues. With one of their members in prison and their team possibly compromised, they face an uncertain future in a world that looks increasingly dangerous for mutants. Written by Matt Nix (Burn Notice), directed by Bryan Singer (the X-Men franchise) and executive-produced by Nix, Singer, Lauren Shuler Donner (X-Men: Apocalypse, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Wolverine), Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Apocalypse, X-Men: Days of Future Past), Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory (Marvel’s Daredevil, Marvel’s Jessica Jones), The Gifted is a story of survival, a story of mutants coming to terms with who they are, a story of parents accepting the fact that their kids aren’t who they thought they were and loving them just the same – even if all of their lives are at risk because of it.

The Orville - From Emmy Award-winning executive producer and creator Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, Ted) and directed by Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book, Iron Man), The Orville is a one-hour science fiction series set 400 years in the future that follows the adventures of the U.S.S. Orville, a mid-level exploratory vessel. Its crew, both human and alien, faces the wonders and dangers of outer space, while also dealing with the familiar, often humorous problems of regular people in a workplace…even though some of those people are from other planets, and the workplace is a faster-than-light spaceship. In the 25th century, Earth is part of the Planetary Union, a far-reaching, advanced and mostly peaceful civilization with a fleet of 3,000 ships. Down on his luck after a bitter divorce, Planetary Union officer Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) finally gets his chance to command one of these ships: the U.S.S. Orville. Determined to prove his worth and write a new chapter in his life, Ed finds that task all the more difficult when the First Officer assigned to his ship is his ex-wife, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Friday Night Lights). As the new commander, Ed assembles a qualified, but eccentric crew, including his best friend, Gordon Malloy (Scott Grimes, ER, Justified), who has problems with authority, but is the best helmsman in the fleet; Dr. Claire Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald, 24, The Larry Sanders Show), one of the Union’s most accomplished physicians; Bortus (Peter Macon, Shameless, Bosch), an alien from a single-sex species; Isaac (Mark Jackson, That Royal Today), an artificial life-form from a machine society that thinks biological life-forms are inferior; navigator John Lamarr (J. Lee, Family Guy, The Cleveland Show), whose casual humor cuts through even the most dire situations; Alara Kitan (Halston Sage, Neighbors, Goosebumps), a young, inexperienced security officer whose home planet’s high gravity gives her superior physical strength; and Yaphit, a gelatinous creature voiced by comedian Norm Macdonald (The Middle, Saturday Night Live). Somehow, Ed and Kelly must put the past behind them and, with the help of the crew, navigate fascinating and sometimes dangerous adventures in outer space, as well as the tumultuous and captivating day-to-day personal relationships with their colleagues.

9-1-1 - From prolific creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, new procedural drama 9-1-1 is a fast-paced exploration into the lives and careers of first responders – cops, paramedics, firefighters – the people who put their lives on the line to save others. Starring Academy and Emmy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Angela Bassett (American Horror Story, What's Love Got to Do With It), the series is based on the real-life, high-pressure experiences of emergency response providers who are thrust into heart-stopping situations that are equal parts unpredictable, intense and uplifting.

The Resident - Focusing on three doctors at different stages of their careers and a dedicated young nurse, The Resident is a provocative new medical drama that rips back the curtain to reveal the truth of what really happens, both good and bad, in hospitals across the country. Meet Dr. Conrad Hawkins (Matt Czuchry, The Good Wife), one of the best doctors at Chastain Park Memorial Hospital. Charming, arrogant and only a third-year resident, Conrad does everything in the most unconventional way possible. Along with treating patients, Conrad believes it is his job to burst the illusions of first-year residents, like DR. Devon Pravesh (Manish Dayal, Halt and Catch Fire), and turn them into real-life doctors. Devon is an innocent idealist, who wears his finely tuned moral compass and passion for science like armor. With Conrad’s help, however, Devon quickly discovers the reality of his chosen profession is not what he imagined, and that ethical lines are often blurred. Nothing, not even the best medical school in the country, could have prepared him for what he’s about to learn. As Devon accompanies Conrad through the hospital’s halls, he meets distinguished chief of surgery Dr. Randolph Bell (Bruce Greenwood, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Mad Men), the face of the hospital and its most sought-after doctor, whose diminishing skills, and the errors they cause, are covered with the help of allies under his command; Dr. Mina Okafor (Shaunette RenĂ©e Wilson, Billions), a rising star surgeon from Nigeria who is threatening Bell’s dominance, but who also is in the U.S. on a visa; and Nicolette Nevin (Emily VanCamp, Revenge), one of Chastain Memorial’s most respected nurses and Conrad’s on-again-off-again romantic partner. While Conrad opens Devon’s eyes to the stark realities of hospital life, the once-optimistic young doctor soon realizes that the practice of medicine is a business, like any other. Not all patients are angels and not all doctors are gods, but one thing’s for sure: expectations are meant to be shattered.

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