Fox unveils 2014-15 sked

fox_network_logoFox Monday unveiled its 2014-15 schedule, featuring twelve new series – five of them debuting this fall.

Of the five, three are dramas – the highly anticipated Gotham, Red Band Society, and Gracepoint; one comedy (Mulraney); and one reality show (Utopia).

With the revamped schedule, there is a scheduling change every night (except Saturday) – including the dismantling of Fox’s Sunday night Animation Domination block. However, three of those sitcoms in the block are joining relocated Brooklyn Nine-Nine and new live-action sitcom Mulraney. Fox execs said they were “returning to their roots” , noting live-action series Malcolm In The Middle, That 70’s Show were launched with The Simpsons as a lead-in. The last time Fox hosted a live-action sitcom on Sunday was the ill-fated Sons Of Tucson in 2010.

The biggest loser in Fox’s AD dismantling is Seth MacFarlane. With The Cleveland Show’s cancellation in 2013 and American Dad’s move to TBS in 2015, it leaves Family Guy as his only animated show left on the schedule – at least until Bordertown premieres midseason.

As for scheduling, Mondays have the slick new Gotham opening the night; followed by the returning (and surprisingly awesome) Sleepy Hollow. Tuesdays has Utopia paired with New Girl and Mindy Project; Wednesday has Hell’s Kitchen and Red Band Society; Thursday has Bones on a new night (again) paired with the new Gracepoint.

Another episode of Utopia airs Friday after Junior Masterchef. Bob’s Burgers gets the pre-Simpsons slot on Sundays – but only when Fox only has a singleheader game scheduled for the week.

Midseason has American Idol – which is being reduced to 37 hours a week, meaning the fading series would likely air only once a week. Glee is also returning midseason with a full 22-episode final season order which could take it through summer 2015. In addition to Bordertown, six more new midseason replacements were ordered : dramas Backstrom, Empire, Hieroglyph, and Wayward Pines; plus comedies Last Man on Earth and Weird Loners.

To see the 2014-15 Fox schedule, which contains descriptions of all the new series, click here.

Analysis: Fox’s schedule isn’t too bad given all the holes they have to fill, given the departure of X Factor and American Dad. But don’t expect any miracles – the days of Fox topping the 18-49 demo is long gone.

Saw the trailer of Gotham and was blown away. But if The Big Bang Theory lands on Monday on a temporary basis, it could hurt sampling for the show. Fox is smart for going for females Thursday nights with Bones and Gracepoint.

While other networks have cut back on reality programming, Fox has increased its hours in the genre. WTF is Utopia? Seems like a return to the trashy reality programming Fox was known for in the day. Why would I want to watch a bunch of dufuses live without running water and electricity for a year? It’s like Gilligan’s Island without the laughs – wait…no. Its like Gilligan’s Island.

More info was revealed Monday at the upfront presentation, with Pitbull (who is taking over Fox on New Year’s Eve) put the audience to sleep with his performance. Is Prince available?

What the what? Leaked from Fox’s upfront presentation Monday.

Another WTF is the long awaited “crossover episode” between The Simpsons and Family Guy, with Fox confirming it would air the special in September and is getting an NFL lead-in. Whatever the hell this is, it’s nothing but a lame ratings gimmick involving two past-their-prime animated shows…. anyone remember The Jestons Meet The Flintstones? I’m surprised Fox didn’t hold The Simpsons/Family Guy crossover off until November.






In positive news, new sitcom Mulraney is already being compared to the early episodes of Seinfeld. It has Family Guy as a lead-out. And American Idol is being paired to one night a week when it returns midseason.

Fox ranked at the top because it could count on one show – American Idol. Now that Idol’s best days are behind it, so are Fox’s. Their aging shows and low-rated newcomers won’t help them grab the 18-49 crown. Like Chicago’s two baseball teams, consider Fox’s prime-time schedule a rebuilding effort.