Upfronts 2012: Fox Takes Another Swing at Four-Comedy Tuesday
Network moves 'Glee'; orders three comedies, two dramas for new TV season
By Melissa Grego -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/14/2012 8:00:00 AMComplete Coverage: Upfronts 2012
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UPDATED: 10:15 A.M. ET
After attempting a four-show block of live-action comedy on Tuesdays this midseason, Fox is moving Glee to Thursday to make way for another swing at a comedy quartet this fall: The network is making a Tuesday block of this season's freshman hit New Girl, returning comedy Raising Hope and freshly-ordered series The Mindy Project and Ben and Kate, according to the schedule Fox announced Monday.
Kevin Reilly, Fox president of entertainment, during a Monday morning press call reiterated his strategic anthem of recent years, saying the comedy block "is something we wanted to do for a long time." He used the word "smart" and "the kind of shows we've wanted to do for a long time" to describe both of the new comedies in the fall block, adding that "we've been building comedy momentum on Tuesday."
Raising Hope will lead off Tuesdays, and Ben and Kate, described as an odd-ball sibling comedy from Dana Fox (What Happens In Vegas), directed by Jake Kasdan (Bad Teacher) and starring newcomer Dakota Johnson and Nat Faxon (Bad Teacher, Oscar-winning co-screenwriter of The Descendants), is scheduled at 8:30 p.m.
New Girl stays at 9 p.m.; it's being paired with The Mindy Project, starring the show's creator Mindy Kaling (The Office) as an OB/GYN, at 9:30 p.m.
Glee moves to Thursday at 9 p.m., where it will follow The X Factor results show (and come midseason, following the American Idol results show). X Factor will feature two new judges, along with returning judges Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid. While Britney Spears and Demi Lovato have been reported as likely to take those two judges slots, execs would not confirm the pop stars' participation Monday morning. Reilly would only say they hoped to be able to announce the new judges Monday.
Reilly expressed confidence that Glee, which waned a bit in the ratings this season, will see a resurgence being "platformed" out of X Factor, saying "Glee's poised for a real creative renaissance this year" with characters graduating, a show within a show as well as "the quality of talent looking to join." Fox announced Monday that Kate Hudson will have a six-episode arc, and Sarah Jessica Parker also will have a multi-episode arc. "Glee is positioned for really strong year," Reilly says.
The network ordered three new comedies and two dramas for the 2012-13 TV season, relatively few new shows. With the two Tuesday comedies and one of the new dramas slated to debut this fall, one new comedy and one new drama will be held until midseason. Fox plans to present its schedule at the Beacon Theatre in New York City Monday afternoon during their annual programming presentation to the national advertising community.
The new drama getting a fall launch is The Mob Doctor, exec produced by Josh Berman (Bones, CSI) and Rob Wright (Crossing Jordan) and starring Jordana Spiro (My Boys) as a brilliant surgeon caught in a web between her promising career and family debt to Chicago's Southside mob. The new drama is set for Mondays at 9 p.m. this fall with a lead-in from stalwart Bones, Mondays at 8 p.m.
Reilly suggested that midseason drama The Following is "the next 24." Created by Kevin Williamson (Dawson's Creek, Scream) it stars Kevin Bacon as an ex-FBI agent called out of retirement to track a serial killer portrayed by James Purefoy (Rome). Reilly calls securing Bacon for the series is the "casting coup" of the season. A highly-serialized show, the series is designed to run 15 weeks straight in the spring with promotion out of football. It is part of the network's strategy to experiment with shorter-order series that can "drive through the spring," when HUT levels dissipate, Reilly says.
The comedy Fox is hanging onto for midseason, The Goodwin Games, is something that "can slide easily" into the Tuesday block, Reilly says. From How I Met Your Mother exec producers Carter Bays, Craig Thomas and Chris Harris, the series stars Scott Foley (Grey's Anatomy, Felicity), Becki Newton (Ugly Betty) and Jake Lacy (Better With You) as estranged siblings who return home after the loss of their father, whose fortune they will inherit if they can adhere to their late dad's wishes.
Five new scripted shows is a relatively small number of new shows to introduce in a typical broadcast network season and Reilly says the crop reflects the strength of the schedule and the shows developed. "We had a number of calls on pilots that could have been top pilots in other years, but we decided we don't need to double down and have three backups," Reilly says. He is looking at "one or two" projects that could get shot out of cycle and on the animation side, Seth McFarlane's The Flintstones, which got pushed back due to other commitments, is still something Reilly hopes to see join the lineup in a future season.
Fox series returning in 2012-2013 include: American Dad (Season 8), American Idol (Season 12), Bob's Burgers (Season 3), Bones (Season 8), The Cleveland Show (Season 4), Cops (Season 25), Family Guy (Season 10), Fringe (Season 5), Glee (Season 4), Hell's Kitchen (Season 10), Kitchen Nightmares (Season 5), MasterChef (Season 3), Mobbed (specials), New Girl (Season 2), Raising Hope (Season 3), The Simpsons (Season 24), So You Think You Can Dance (Season 9) and Touch (Season 2). American Country Awards, New Year's Eve Live and Teen Choice 2012 will also return to the Fox schedule.
FOX 2012-2013 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)
8-9:00 PM Bones
9:00-10:00 PM THE MOB DOCTOR
8:00-8:30 PM Raising Hope
8:30-9:00 PM BEN AND KATE
9:00-9:30 PM New Girl
9:30-10:00 PM THE MINDY PROJECT
8:00-10:00 PM The X Factor (fall) / American Idol (midseason)
8:00-9:00 PM The X Factor Results (fall) / American Idol Results (midseason)
9:00-10:00 PM Glee
8:00-9:00 PM Touch
9:00-10:00 PM Fringe (fall)
7:00-10:30 PM Fox Sports Saturday (fall)
7:00-7:30 PM NFL Game (fall) / Animation Domination (encores)
7:30-8:00 PM The OT (fall) / The Cleveland Show
8:00-8:30 PM The Simpsons
8:30-9:00 PM Bob's Burgers
9:00-9:30 PM Family Guy
9:30-10:00 PM American Dad
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