I have always been partial to shows on FOX. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out why, and the best answer I can come up with is that they are usually a good blend of edginess and riskiness which appeal to me the most. Shows on ABC always seem a little watered down, and while NBC has put in some good effort, other than the comedies it has been awhile since I have become as whole-heartedly invested in a show on NBC as I do on FOX. Looking at the fall season preview, I think FOX is once again going to be the network for me. They are in an interesting position because they only have a two hour primetime slot, which means they don't have as much time to program (which ultimately means that they don't have as much "filler"). FOX gets to be more selective about the shows they put on air, which is a good thing, especially when looking at NBC's new schedule...
That being said, the network does have a challenge this year after the ratings of their reality juggernaut American Idol have finally come down to earth, and the network no longer has its secret weapon of a strong lead-in for a show no matter what. They also took a big gamble and spent a lot of money on bringing X-Factor to the US, and so far that bet has not paid off. While it gets pretty decent ratings, they are nowhere near what was expected, or what they would need to off-set the money spent. However, with yesterday's announcement that both Britney Spears and Demi Lovato will be judges next season, maybe their luck will change. The new judges will definitely bring some eyeballs (especially in the case of Spears) for the first few episodes, but only time will tell if they stick around. If they don't, I don't think this version of Simon Cowell's show will be much longer for our world. The network also lost House this year, and although it has been a longtime since that show had the huge ratings that it once did, it has been a staple in the "quality" drama category on the network for 8 years. While it hasn't been as good as it once was, they definitely are in desperate need of a successful drama to replace it.
When looking at their scripted schedule it seems like comedy is not just the trend on NBC, but is also a big priority at FOX. Having produced New Girl (which could be called its first undeniably successful live action half hour comedy since That 70's Show and Malcolm in the Middle went off the air in 2006) they have now gotten brave enough to try to build a night of comedy, yet again. Glee has been moved to Thursday to accommodate the new comedy block, and Raising Hope will kick off the bunch on Tuesdays. An interesting choice as Hope has stuck around for a couple of years, but has never had huge success in terms of ratings. The new show Ben and Kate is on at 8:30pm, followed by New Girl at 9:00pm, and then Mindy Kaling's post-Office comedy will finish off the night. New Girl and The Mindy Project do look like they are perfect "companion pieces," but on the other hand I wonder if they are too similar? Does anyone need to watch THAT much quirky (mildly-annoying) girl comedy in one night. I'm in to check it out, but I'm not sold yet. Sunday night stays pretty much the same with Animation Domination, but I am the happiest that Bob's Burgers was picked up for another season and will stay in its protected airing between The Simpsons and Family Guy.
So all told, FOX picked up 3 new comedies, with two of them airing in the fall, and the last being held for mid-season. Here is the good news about the new comedies (the trailers for which you can find here)…they made me laugh. It is shocking how often network executives, writers and producers overlook the fact that this is the number one priority when making a comedy…at least these have gotten me thus far.
Ben and Kate – Another good pairing with Raising Hope, this comedy feels like a mix between a rom-com and family sitcom. The show follows the story of two odd-couple siblings who unexpectedly move in together to help get Kate out of the "rut" she has been in since becoming a single mother. The siblings then push each other out of their comfort zones and into real-life. The description doesn't sound too astounding of a concept, but the trailer looks like they could pull off a funny and charming look at the relationship between this odd-ball family. I'll at least check it out.
The Mindy Project – I love Mindy Kaling and while I guess I can be excited by this show, I am still mourning the loss of one yet another one of the great characters on The Office. As I mentioned before, this does look like a bit of a copy of New Girl, which could be a good thing or a bad thing. Mindy is a skilled OB/GYN who is great at her job, but bad at her life. Every day she seems to find herself in unbelievable situations that she just can't avoid or get herself out of. I will give this a chance and hope that they live up to the high standards that are set by anyone who comes out of writing/producing/starring in glory days The Office.
As for dramas, I'm not sure what has happened to Fridays this year, but (similar to Community) Touch was also moved to the "death-slot" night. As I said with Community this COULD be an okay sign for Touch if they actually promote the show on Friday night (as they did with Fringe), but if I were Kiefer Sutherland I would be pretty pissed at this lack of a vote of confidence. Glee has been moved to the coveted Thursday night at 9:00pm time slot. It will now be going up against the NBC comedies, which seems like a risky move, especially as the ratings of the show have continually been declining. Thursday night is more important than any other night for a network – because it is the night that most studios spend big advertising dollars on trailers for their films that are coming out on the weekend. The fact that they are putting Glee here, just reinforces my point that FOX is in desperate need of a big drama success. Bones returns to its time-slot on Monday night and is followed by the new drama The Mob Doctor. The Following starring Kevin Bacon is the other drama they have picked up, but will be held for mid-season.
The Mob Doctor – One minute into the trailer and….I'm out. First of all, I can't stand Jordana Spiro and can't imagine her being able to have the weight to carry a crime show (no, I don't believe that she is a doctor and/or has anything to do with The Mob) and I am so confused by the tone of the show that it has made me have no desire to find out what it actually is. Is it funny? Is it edgy? I have no idea, and if this is what is coming across in the pilot episode, I doubt that the show knows either. I'll usually give anything a chance, but nothing in here that I have seen that makes me want to do that.
The Following - I have mostly been focusing on shows that air in the fall, but after watching the trailer for this mid-season replacement, I could not leave this one out. I watched it last night and still cannot get it out of my head, and I think this has now blown Revolution out of the water as the new drama series for me. Kevin Bacon stars in this dramatic thriller that follows a former FBI agent who comes back to help catch a serial killer who has escaped from prison. The trailer gives me chills and seeing Kevin Bacon on a TV show doesn't diminish him, but instead makes this show look like a movie. It doesn't hurt that it has a Se7en mixed with The Fugitive feel to it as well. The chemistry and dynamic between Bacon and and James Purefoy (who plays the killer) doesn't seem like it will disappoint either. I have been burned by good trailers before, so am still going to remain cautious, but as of now I am cautiously optimistic.
FOX FALL 2012-13 SCHEDULE (*New programs in UPPER CASE)
8-9 pm "Bones"
9-10 pm "THE MOB DOCTOR"
8-8:30 pm "Raising Hope"
8:30-9 pm "BEN AND KATE"
9-9:30 pm "New Girl"
9:30-10 pm "THE MINDY PROJECT"
8-10 pm "The X Factor"
8-9 pm "The X Factor" Results
9-10 pm "Glee"
8-9 pm "Touch"
7 - 10:30 pm Fox Sports Saturday
8-8:30 pm "The Simpsons"
8:30 –9 pm "Bob's Burgers"
9-9:30 pm "Family Guy"
9:30-10pm "American Dad"