Editor’s Note: Fox made an important schedule change after the Upfronts took place, involving Pitch, Bones, and Prison Break. This article is being rewritten to reflect the changes. I also have some thoughts about Pitch. -T.H.
Fox released its 2016-17 programming schedule Monday morning in advance of its upfront presentation the following afternoon. Following a similar path NBC is taking, Fox is only premiering four series in fall and the rest in midseason.
Adaption is the key word for many of Fox’s new dramas: 24: Legacy, a Prison Break revival, Lethal Weapon and The Exorcist, the latter two debuting this fall and Legacy debuting right after the Super Bowl – the first time a new show is launching after the big game in several years.
Also debuting this fall is Pitch, about the first woman pitcher in the Major Leagues. This move was made on Friday after the upfront presentations took place, pushing Bones until midseason.
New midseason shows include Mick, APB, Kicking and Screaming, Prison Break, Shots Fired, and Star, a new drama from Empire creator Lee Daniels.
The Prison Break revival debuts on Tuesday nights next spring.
Last week, Fox canceled all of its freshman comedies, and at the last minute also canceled Houdini & Doyle. This is also the first season Fox is without American Idol.
Fall schedule: Tuesday night’s comedy block is being cut back to one hour with Brooklyn Nine-Nine leading off the evening, followed by long-in-the-tooth New Girl and the second season of Scream Queens. Wednesdays has the new Lethal Weapon leading into Empire, while Thursdays has Rosewood on a new day leading into new drama Pitch at a new time. Friday has the pairing of Hell’s Kitchen and the new Exorcist, based on the 1973 box-office smash of the same name. Sundays has a new animated/live-action series sandwiched between The Simpsons and Family Guy called Son of Zorn, as an animated character heads to suburbia.
Mondays and Saturdays (college football and MLB) remain unchanged.
The planned midseason schedule is too complex to explain; it contains many shows coming and going and others switching time slots. To see the midseason (and fall) schedules, click here. (Editor’s Note: will replace with another updated link when able.)
Fox officially announced its schedule at its upfront presentation, which was a show in itself. Fox took no prisoners, taking shots at CBS with Homer Simpson joining in on the fun. There was even a photo of CBS head Les Moonves altered to make him look like Lex Luthor (or more appropriately, former CBS President Larry Tisch.)
The crowd of ad buyers (mostly in their 20s and 30s) cheered when 24: Legacy was announced, and the trailers for Son of Zorn and Pitch also had a positive reaction from the crowd. The cast of midseason entry Star performed, as did a few cast members of Empire.
The 2016-17 lineup is somewhat of a disappointment, though moving Pitch in for Bones at the last minute is a good move. Despite their much ballyhooed upfront presentation, Fox really doesn’t have much to brag about.
For one, those waiting for another season of The X-Files will have to wait until the 2017-18 season, as the principals behind the show are too busy with other projects, according to officials. This past season, X-Files was ranked second behind Empire in adults 18-49.
Keeping Empire in its Wednesday time slot is fine by yours truly, as moving it an hour earlier would cause concern given its content (in other words, it keeps the Parents Television Council quiet.) Star fills in during Empire’s hiatus – similar to what Agent Carter did when Agents Of Shield went on winter hiatus. How did that work out?
Pitch’s quick move to Thursday is positive – but keep in mind Baseball-themed series have struck out in the past – notably sitcoms Ball Four (1976) and Hardball (1994). Fox is counting on promotion during the MLB postseason (and a Cubs appearance) to boost Pitch – a move that makes sense.
Fridays have similar title premises – Hell’s Kitchen and The Exorcist, though you wouldn’t blame anyone if they were mistaken for show in the same genre.
Perhaps the most interesting show (the only one, actually) is midseason entry Shots Fired, whose premise – a racially motivated police shooting – is quite controversial. But tough topics are seldom ratings winners.
To see all of Fox’s new series trailers, click here.
This post originally appeared on May 17, 2016 before Fox made schedule adjustments on May 20.