Fox announces 2015-16 schedule


Announces end to American Idol in May 2016. Break out the Belvedere!

Fox announced its 2015-16 schedule Monday during its upfront presentation and as you would have guessed, the show centered around Empire, the hottest TV show ever. The central cast made an appearance, including a performance from Chicago’s own Jennifer Hudson, who played a gospel singer in a few episodes.

Empire receives an eighteen-episode order next season, split into two – one for fall; the other for spring. Confirmed guest appearances for season two include Alicia Keys and Chris Rock.

All in all, nine new series are on the schedule for next season (five in the fall) – not to mention the World Series, NFL, and the final season of American Idol -which winds down its run in May 2016.

Here’s the night-by-night blowdown:

– Mondays features the return of Gotham, followed by new sci-fi drama Minority Report. In January however, the return of The X-Files takes Report’s spot beginning Jan.25, with the re-launch premiering after the NFC Championship Game a day earlier, similar to how new seasons of 24 launched in the past.

– It’s a night of all new programming on Tuesdays with new sitcoms Grandfathered (with John Stamos) and The Grinder leading up to new thriller Scream Queens. Aaaahhh!

– New drama Rosewood leads off Wednesday and right into Empire.

– Thursday has veteran Bones leading into former Monday drama Sleepy Hollow. American Idol moves here on Thursdays in January.

– Friday is low cost reality night, with Masterchef Junior and World’s Funniest Fails.

– Weekends remains unchanged, with college football on Saturdays and comedies on Sunday.

For midseason, Fox has Bordertown which could land in the post-Family Guy slot once Last Man on Earth concludes its season. Fox also picked up dramas Frankenstein Code and Lucifer and live-action comedy The Guide To Surviving Life.

For the full schedule and complete description of the shows, click here.

Bye bye, Idol: First of all, good fucking riddance to American Idol. The so-called DeathStar of television has been an annoying presence in pop culture for thirteen years. The show wasn’t as popular here in Chicago as elsewhere, proving at least we in the Windy City have some brains. The most standout moment? Jennifer Hudson getting hosed? Annoying teenage girls in the audience? Sanjaya? William Hung? Paula Abdul getting drunk on the show? Bringing on Mariah Carey and Nicki Manaj as judges? (which sent Idol’s remaining audience scrambling toward the exits) Ellen Degeneres? The rise of Ryan Seacrest?

Yes, I know Fox affiliates will miss the show because it provided them inflated news lead-ins (except in Chicago, of course) and boosted Fox’s value and their affiliates on Wall Street (until the economic collapse hit.) But the party’s over – in fact, the party ended quite a while ago.

But don’t celebrate too much. Keep in mind Idol can be rebooted at anytime. After all, Mancow and Jay Mariotti each became employed again, didn’t they?

Analysis: On the surface, Fox’s schedule isn’t really all that impressive. Like NBC, the network decided not to invest in comedies, with only two new shows on the fall sked. Mondays looks alright, with Gotham paired with the interesting Minority Report and the reboot of The X Files – great night for sci-fi/comic book fans. However, look for Fox to tank on Tuesday as all three of their programs won’t do any better than the fare from last season.

Fox will likely remain dominant with Empire on Wednesday, but will have a new lead-in with Rosewood, which seems incompatible. Thursdays, Bones is long in the tooth and Sleepy Hollow… well, should have been put to sleep. Look for Fox to get a small boost from a final season of Idol when it comes to Thursday midseason.

Friday is cheap reality show night, so nothing to say there. Sundays is kind of hard to judge given football lead-ins, but Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Last Man On Earth should be just fine. Meanwhile the lackluster treatment of Bordertown and the last-minute renewal of Family Guy makes you wonder how solid Seth MacFarlane’s relationship with Fox is. Final season for the Griffins?

Unless Fox has another breakout hit show a la Empire, look for them to continue to struggle.