Fox Unveils 2017-18 Slate, Leads With 'The Gifted' (VIDEO)
TV's Upfronts week—that glorious time when the broadcast networks reveal their plans for the new season to advertisers and the press—continued rolling early this morning when Dana Walden and Gary Newman, Chairmen and CEOs of the Fox Television Group, hopped on the phone to talk about Fox's upcoming 2017-18 programming slate.
Armed with five of the last season's top 15 shows, including Star and Lethal Weapon, Walden explained that the net's strategy behind some of the pickups and moves was to "build bigger nights" and pointed out that each night's schedule is thematic in one way or another.
Mondays will go on being a showcase "for big bold dramas" that have benefited from the promo power of Sunday Night football, with Lucifer moving to 8/7c, followed by "the big cinematic and accessible" family-adventure drama The Gifted, their first Marvel series, starring Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker as a couple who take their kids on the run after learning that they have mutant powers. Check out the trailer here.
Comedy comes next as Lethal Weapon relocates to Tuesdays at 8/7c as a powerful lead-in to The Mick, which Walden raved about. "We are big believers in The Mick and [star] Kaitlin Olson has been amazing." She went on to say that the net "sees enormous potential" for the comedy and plans to put "everything we can behind" it, including returning comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which closes the night.
Wednesdays are music-soap night, with Lee Daniels' Empire and Star, "a young show we believe in," said Walden, teaming up for what is probably the most sensible pairing.
On Thursdays, Gotham is expected to bring its "really loyal, male" fanbase (Walden heaped on the praise for its ability to previously "hold its own" against Big Bang Theory and Monday Night Football) to Thursdays, where Season 4 will be followed by Seth MacFarlane's hour-long The Orville, "a funny accessible" sci-fi tale about the crew of an exploratory spaceship set 400 years in the future. The Adrianne Palicki-led show is "getting a big push after two NFL double-headers" before taking up its regular perch.
With the renewal of The Exorcist, its Friday pairing with Hell's Kitchen will stay intact and seemingly play off the idea that both shows have a devil running loose. One is just in a chef's jacket. Saturdays will be reruns and football as usual, and on Sundays, the animation block is getting a live-action interloper in the form of Ghosted, the paranomal-hunters comedy co-starring Craig Robinson (The Office) and Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation). That newbie will be bookended by The Simpsons and The Family Guy.
As for mid-season, Gary Newman touted the returns of The X-Files and New Girl, as well as the "distinctive medical drama" The Resident starring Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife), Emily VanCamp (Revenge) and Manish Dayal (Halt and Catch Fire) as three doctors "at different stages of their careers." There will also be the new Ryan Murphy-Brad Falchuk series 9-1-1 with Angela Bassett about the crazy lives of first responders, and LA to Vegas, set on a commuter plane that flies between to two cities. This one, from executive producers Steve Levitan (Modern Family), Will Ferrell and Adam McKay (The Boss) has our interest piqued, as Newman has declared that star Dylan McDermott gives "the performance surprise of the season."
On the live musical front, Walden said that casting would be underway soon for December's A Christmas Story and 2018's production of Rent, both of which will be overseen by La La Land EP Marc Platt (who is also on board for NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar).
And don't give up hope on seeing more 24: Legacy or Prison Break. Walden said that PB is "something we'd love to do again," but noted that it was never in the plan to bring the limited-event series back every season. And 24's reboot is "very much still in the mix," it was just that star Corey Hawkins is tied up doing Broadway right now, so that made scheduling any return difficult. Scream Queens, however, is dead. "We have no plans to go back," she said of the Ryan Murphy anthological horror-com.
Finally, the American Idol situation was addressed. Walden revealed that, despite a 70% drop-off in ratings during the final seasons, production company Freemantle was "hungry to get it back on TV" immediately after the final season. "It felt to us that it would be extremely fraudulent to bring it back so quickly" after its hyped-up final season, she said, adding that "we didn't see the fan excitement" about the idea of the show living on. And although Freemantle balked at making budgetary changes or any tweaks to the judging panel to keep it on Fox, the company then met with NBC right after Seacrest signed off for the last time in hopes of finding it a new home. Once it became clear that the show was not going to go away, Walden stated that Fox did consider mounting a revised return of Idol: "We did make an offer...ultimately that fell apart."
Guess it's ABC's problem now.
FOX FALL 2017 SCHEDULE
(All Times ET/PT)
8:00-9:00 PM LUCIFER
9:00-10:00 PM THE GIFTED (new)
8:00-9:00 PM LETHAL WEAPON
9:00-9:30 PM THE MICK
9:30-10:00 PM BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
8:00-9:00 PM EMPIRE
9:00-10:00 PM STAR
8:00-9:00 PM GOTHAM
9:00-10:00 PM THE ORVILLE (new)
8:00-9:00 PM HELL’S KITCHEN
9:00-10:00 PM THE EXORCIST
7:00-10:30 PM FOX SPORTS SATURDAY: FOX COLLEGE FOOTBALL
7:00-7:30 PM NFL ON FOX
7:30-8:00 PM THE OT / BOB’S BURGERS
8:00-8:30 PM THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9:00 PM GHOSTED (new)
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM THE LAST MAN ON EARTH