Programming

Upfronts 2011: Fox Builds Fall Schedule Around 'X Factor,' Slates 'Terra Nova'

Network picks up four new comedies, three dramas, one unscripted series for 2011-12 TV season 5/16/2011 08:52:07 AM Eastern

Click here for complete coverage of the 2011 upfronts


Click here to watch preview clips and trailers for Fox's new shows

As was widely expected, Fox will build its fall primetime
programming lineup around its much-hyped, new Simon Cowell-led talent
competition X Factor, which is being slotted in the Weds-Thurs. time
period pattern the network currently is using for American Idol,
according to the 2011-12 TV season lineup the network announced Monday morning.

Fox brass say they're undeterred by NBC's strong debut of
fellow singing competition show The Voice. "We feel we have the gold
standard in Idol and X Factor," Peter Rice, Chairman,
Entertainment, Fox Networks Group, told reporters during a conference call
Monday morning. "In Simon Cowell we have the absolute star of the genre at the
pinnacle of his game."

Using X Factor as a "tentpole," as Fox
Broadcasting Entertainment President Kevin Reilly said in the conference call,
the network also has slated two new comedies to debut this fall, along with its
big-budget time-travel drama Terra Nova. The latter will air in the 8
p.m. hour on Mondays this fall, (ET/PT) leading into the time slot's current
occupant House. Fox ordered four new comedies, three dramas and one
unscripted series for the new season.

Despite a delay of Terra Nova's planned preview
this spring, Rice and Reilly confirmed the show is absolutely a go for a fall
debut. Alcatraz, a crime thriller from J.J. Abrams and Elizabeth
Sarnoff, is slated to wait in the wings for a Monday time slot come midseason,
when House will go back to 8 p.m. and Alcatraz is expected to air
Mondays at 9. Terra Nova will continue to get a huge promotional push
and the network is aiming to capture the family audience at 8 p.m. With the
broad, multigenerational storytelling and epic feel, execs say it will be like
nothing else on TV.

Fox executives touted the network's ratings dominance in
their call with reporters ahead of their presentation to advertisers Monday
afternoon in New York at The New Beacon Theatre. They pointed out that Fox is
poised to keep the adults 18-49 ratings crown for the seventh consecutive
season this year even without counting the Super Bowl.

With a schedule that builds on the strength of its
franchises, including a rejuvenated Idol and a strategy to build out its
comedy stable, the networks' execs predicted Fox will continue to dominate the
ratings race next season. "We think we have a very strong schedule for next
year," Rice said.

The execs said they hope and expect Idol's judges
panel to return intact, with Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler in multi-year
contracts. Jennifer Lopez had a one-year deal but the "hope and expectation" is
she'll return, Rice said.

The continued revitalization of the comedy genre,
however, is key to Fox's continued growth, as it is for all networks, Reilly
said. "The comedy genre has gotten rather anemic," Reilly said, adding that it
used to be the core of most network schedules and calling the genre "fragile."

"Most successful comedy in history of television usually
started at the bottom and has been vulnerable," he said. "We're trying to
methodically work it in."

"It would be a very healthy thing for television to get
that genre going again," Reilly said. "I actually think we will this season."

Fox's strategy for boosting its comedy business this
season includes the launches this fall of New Girl (working title), starring
Zooey Deschanel on Tuesdays this fall at 9 p.m. following Glee; and I
Hate My Teenage Daughter
, starring Jaime Pressly and Katie Finneran as moms
of teenagers who are growing into the type of "mean girls" who terrorized them
in high school. Reilly called it a "coup" to land Deschanel for TV and
described Teenage Daughter, slated for Wednesdays at 9:30 after X
Factor
's performance show, as a relatable buddy comedy with "laughs and a
lot of heart" and the "Fox attitude."

Fox also has slated a midseason test run of a four-comedy
block and will set that lineup after they see how things "shake out" in
development this summer and on the air this fall, Reilly said.

The rest of the fall schedule remains pretty stable. Allen
Gregory
, is the new animated comedy joining the Sunday animation lineup
this fall. Created by and featuring the voice of Jonah Hill, the show is the
story of an extremely pretentious 7-year-old about to leave homeschooling to
attend elementary school with children his own age. In addition to his success
as an actor, Hill is also an ambitious writer and producer, Reilly says, and
told Fox he grew up on Fox's animation. An animated Napoleon Dynamite steps into the block in midseason.

Bones will follow X Factor's results show
on Thursdays and its spin-off The Finder will slot in come midseason
while Bones star Emily Deschanel is on maternity leave. Fox is sticking
with Kitchen Nightmares and Fringe on Fridays and will cycle
Saturday's longrunning America's Most Wanted down to quarterly, two-hour
specials this season.

Reilly called AMW figurehead John Walsh a "very
important guy to the network for a long time," adding, "it's not a secret to
John, we have not made money on the show in quite awhile." Reilly said the show
is a public service and said they wanted to keep it alive and that Walsh is
talking to News Corp. about where the series could continue.

In midseason, American Idol will return for its
eleventh round, with a special event following the NFC Championship game
Sunday, Jan. 22. Fox will air a 25th network anniversary special
Sunday, April 1. And Touch, a drama starring 24's Kiefer
Sutherland, is scheduled to go into production in June.

Fox's complete fall and midseason schedules follow.

FOX FALL 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

(All Times ET/PT)

MONDAY

8:00-9:00 PM    Terra Nova (new)       
9:00-10:00 PM   House

TUESDAY

8:00-9:00 PM    Glee
9:00-9:30 PM    New Girl (wt) (new)
9:30-10:00 PM   Raising Hope

WEDNESDAY

8:00-9:30 PM    The X Factor Performance Show (new)    
9:30-10:00 PM   I Hate My Teenage Daughter (wt) (new)          

THURSDAY

8:00-9:00 PM    The X Factor Results Show (new)
9:00-10:00 PM   Bones

FRIDAY

8:00-9:00 PM    Kitchen Nightmares
9:00-10:00 PM   Fringe

SATURDAY

8:00-8:30 PM    Cops
8:30-9:00 PM    Cops
9:00-10:00 PM   Encores / America's Most Wanted (specials)
 
SUNDAY

7:00-7:30 PM    The OT (NFL post-game)
7:30-8:00 PM    The Cleveland Show

8:00-8:30 PM    The Simpsons
8:30-9:00 PM    Allen Gregory (new)
9:00-9:30 PM    Family Guy
9:30-10:00 PM   American Dad

FOX MIDSEASON 2012 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

(All Times ET/PT)

MONDAY

8:00-9:00 PM    House
9:00-10:00 PM   Alcatraz (new)         
 
TUESDAY

8:00-9:00 PM    Glee
9:00-9:30 PM    New Girl (wt) (new)
9:30-10:00 PM   Raising Hope

WEDNESDAY

8:00-9:30 PM    American Idol Performance Show
9:30-10:00 PM   I Hate My Teenage Daughter (wt) (new)

THURSDAY

8:00-9:00 PM    American Idol Results Show
9:00-10:00 PM   The Finder (new) / Bones (spring)

FRIDAY

8:00-9:00 PM    Kitchen Nightmares
9:00-10:00 PM   Fringe        

SATURDAY

8:00-8:30 PM    Cops
8:30-9:00 PM    Cops  
9:00-10:00 PM   Encores / America's Most Wanted (specials)

SUNDAY

7:00-7:30 PM    Animation Domination (encores)
7:30-8:00 PM    The Cleveland Show
8:00-8:30 PM    The Simpsons
8:30-9:00 PM    Napoleon Dynamite (new)
9:00-9:30 PM    Family Guy
9:30-10:00 PM   Bob's Burgers

 

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