2014-15 Television Upfronts: Fox

Back for Round 2 in this week’s series of 2014-15 network upfronts posts with Fox. Also, as a result, this will be the shortest of the four posts this week.

Why do you ask? Fox has a limited amount of prime-time real estate, as their networking programing ends at 10pm each night. This is in contrast to the alphabet soup networks ABC, NBC and CBS, who run primetime up until 11.

This also gives Fox a bit of a unique opportunity with their programming, as they tend to “pair” their shows. Often, a fantasy/horror show like Sleepy Hollow will be on the same night as something similar, or two 30 minute comedies might find a home on the same night as Glee.

Unlike NBC, I have the feeling that the Fox network executives “get it”, in that they have very few 22 episode commitments anymore. Instead, their flagship shows are now The Following, Sleepy Hollow and American Idol, none of which span an entire television season.

This season looks no different. Leading off the week is Gotham, a Batman prequel of sorts which delves into the politics of Gotham City, decades before The Dark Knight ever puts on his cape. Though its series order is unclear, expect the program to conclude its season in December. This is much like its nightly companion Sleepy Hollow, which is back for its second season in the fall.

Both shows will likely be replaced come springtime. The Following will take one slot for sure, and count on Fox to trot out another genre-type program that’ll match The Following’s dark nature.

Fox, which brought back 24 as a limited series this summer, is also investing heavily in the mini-series format. Two such projects are ready to roll out this season in Gracepoint, based on the UK show Broadchurch, and Wayward Pines. Though in development earlier, look for networks to pick up on the success of the model of True Detective. Though the series will be back next year, it was able to draw some serious talent in Matthew McCounaughey and Woody Harrelson, by offering only a one-season commitment on a closed-ended, non-continuing story. Better talent = better results; pretty simple.

No network would be complete without its reality, and Fox is no exception. I do have to give them credit though: Instead of (yet another) singing show, Fox will be airing Utopia. Billed as a social experiment, its participants will take one full year out of their lives to attempt and build their version of “Utopia”. I probably won’t watch, but I’ll be interested to hear how it works out.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Animation Domination has come to a close. Fox has cancelled American Dad and The Cleveland Show and moved two live-action comedies to Sunday night. Brooklyn Nine-Nine will be sandwiched between The Simpsons and Family Guy, with new live-actin Mulaney rounding out the night. This marks a big shift for Fox, which hasn’t had live action on Sunday night in over a decade.

FOX 2014-15 Television Upfronts Roundup

Almost Human
The Cleveland Show
Raising Hope
Surviving Jack
Us and Them
The X Factor

American Idol
Bob’s Burgers
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Family Guy
The Following
Masterchef Junior
The Mindy Project
New Girl
The Simpsons (Season 26!!)
Sleepy Hollow
So You Think You Can Dance

New This Fall
Red Band Society
Gracepoint (Event Series)