Fox Upfronts: Make Way for Football

Fox-NetworkAt Fox, football is the new “American Idol.”

Instead of scheduling around its onetime singing contest behemoth as it once did, now it’s all about using its acquisition of Thursday Night Football in addition to its Sunday NFL to promote and highlight less than a handful of new shows, many of which will be focused on men and, in the case of comedies, look like the multi-camera laugh-track sitcoms of the past than more recent single camera shows.

Just two new shows — comedies – are planned for the fall, with two new dramas set for midseason. Also the network is bringing back Tim Allen in “Last Man Standing,” an ABC show produced by the network’s 20th Century Fox Television that lasted six seasons. Execs Monday said they were “emboldened by the response to ‘Roseanne,’” in bringing back “Last Man Standing,” though they clarified they were talking about numbers for reviving old series more than bringing back outspoken conservative stars, of which Allen, like Roseanne Barr, is.

The network also will present a live production of the musical “Rent” Jan. 27 and present a new chapter in the science series “Cosmos: Possible Worlds” in spring 2019.

The new comedies are:

  • “The Cool Kids” – David Alan Grier, Martin Mull and Vicki Lawrence are among the cast of a group of retirement community rebels out for fun. From Charlie Day of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Fridays this fall.
  • “Rel” -  Lil Rel Howery, the TSA agent in “Get Out,” stars as a guy on Chicago’s West Side who loses both his wife and his barber after he finds they are having an affair. With Sinbad, Jess Moore and Jordan L. Jones.  Fridays this fall.

The new midseason dramas are:

  • “The Passage” – Thriller about a secret medical site developing a virus that could either cure all disease or kill everybody. Based on author Justin Cronin’s trilogy, produced in part by Ridley Scott, it stars Saniyya Sidney, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Brianne Howey and Vincent Piazza.
  • “Proven Innocent” – Legal procedural from Danny Strong (“Empire,” “Game Change”) about a team that tries to free the wrongfully convicted. With Rachelle Lefevre, Russell Hornsby, Vincent Kartheiser and Riley Smith.

Returning shows include “Bob’s Burgers,” “Empire,” “Family Guy,” “The Four: Battle for Stardom,” “Gotham” for its final season, “The Gifted,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Lethal Weapon” (with Sean William Scott ireplacing Clayne Crawford ), “The Orville,” “9-1-1,” “The Resident,” “The Simpsons” (for its 30th season), “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Star.”

Not returning are “The Exorcist,” “Lucifer,” “The Mick” and “The Last Man on Earth.” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” was also canceled by Fox, but was picked up by NBC.

The fates of the comedies “Ghosted” and “LA to Vegas” were not yet announced.


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