This week is one of the most exciting and hectic times for the television industry and those of us who like to pontificate about it — upfronts! All week the broadcast networks will be announcing their fall schedules for advertisers, which means all sorts of stories about pick-ups, cancellations and armchair quarterbacking from people like me in response to the new schedules. So I’ll be chiming in every day with my thoughts on new schedules. Obviously I haven’t seen any of the new series and I won’t pretend as if I know anything outside of the small tidbits of information gathered from press releases. But I still have something to say, damnit!
Second up is FOX, which announced its schedule this morning.
Bold indicates midseason series/schedules
8:00-9:00 PM House
9:00-10:00 PM Lonestar / Ride-Along
Thoughts: With 24 finally going away next week, the 9 PM hour is open for a new hit and despite its declining ratings in the latter half of this season, House is still a big series to help create new winners. Lonestar is getting a lot of buzz and has an interesting premise, but I’m more partial to Ride-Along the Chicago police drama from Shield creator Shawn Ryan. Either way, good night for FOX.
8:00-9:00 PM Glee / American Idol Performance Show [8:00-9:30 PM]
9:00-9:30 PM Raising Hope
9:30-10:00 PM Running Wilde / Mixed Signals
Thoughts: FOX is re-dedicating themselves to the live-action comedy, something they’ve failed with ever since Malcolm in the Middle was good — read: a long time ago — and Glee is the best bet to help grow those new attempts. Raising Hope is from My Name is Earl creator Greg Garcia and looks weird enough to be funny and Running Wilde reunites Will Arnett with Arrested Development helmer Mitch Hurwitz. And with the Glee lead-in, those are safe bets to at least make it through the season. In midseason, FOX is obviously listening to the fan complaints that there is not enough music in the performance episodes, so they’re getting bumped to 90 minutes. Though I see that as just a way to pump in more useless fluff.
8:00-9:00 PM Lie to Me / Raising Hope [8:00-8:30 PM]
9:00-10:00 PM Hell’s Kitchen / American Idol Results Show [8:30-9:00 PM]
9:00-10:00 PM Glee
Thoughts: For a series I was sure would get canceled, Lie to Me has a nice spot there on Wednesdays at 8 PM and it could possibly compete with NBC’s Undercovers and whatever comedies ABC puts out there. Although, I’d still love to have Fringe there and safe from the Thursday mess. Midseason brings us the 30 minute Idol results show, but there is no way anyone who has watched the program regularly over the past few years actually believes that A.) they’ll get it under 30 minutes or B.) FOX will even stick to this plan. They can’t even get in under 60 minutes folks. Glee hangs on to the post-Idol spot in spring.
8:00-9:00 PM Bones
9:00-10:00 PM Fringe
Thoughts: Good for FOX for keeping this pair together, even if Fringe gets hammered in this timeslot. I wonder how short of a leash the series has going into next season?
8:00-9:00 PM Human Target
9:00-10:00 PM The Good Guys / Kitchen Nightmares
Thoughts: The bad news for Human Target — another series that was on the bubble with Lie to Me — is that it’s now on Fridays. The good news is that, at least in the fall, it creates a nice little block of programming with Matt Nix’s Good Guys, which has a preview episode this week and then unspools this summer as well. Neither of those series will get good ratings, but hopefully the numbers will be good enough to justify keep the two on at least through the season.
8:00-8:30 PM COPS
8:30-9:00 PM COPS
9:00-10:00 PM America’s Most Wanted
7:00-8:00 PM The OT (NFL post-game) / Simpsons Encores [7:00-7:30 PM]
7:30-8:00 PM American Dad
8:00-8:30 PM The Simpsons
8:30-9:00 PM The Cleveland Show / Bob’s Burgers
9:00-9:30 PM Family Guy
9:30-10:00 PM American Dad / The Cleveland Show
Thoughts: I really don’t care about FOX’s animation block, sorry. I’m glad live-action comedies are back for them.
Midseason: Terra Nova
Thoughts: Despite Steven Spielberg’s insistence on hiring 24 writers for this series, I’m still fairly excited. Anytime you produce a series about a futuristic family heading back to the times of the dinosaurs each week, I’m in. Big budgetary commitment, obviously.
Really, no surprises on this FOX sked aside from the Idol move, but we’ll see if that sticks. The new dramas look solid and at least two of the comedies appear to be different and on-brand for FOX, so overall, it’s a solid development group from this angle. Clearly, I haven’t seen anything yet, so it’s all assumption at this point. But I’m happy with this schedule.
Other schedule analysis: