Thursday, May 17, 2007

"They had that elusive quality all news teams need: chemistry": FOX 2007-08 Schedule Analysis




FOX is, of course, the most irritating network to cover, because they're so damn schizo. They have baseball in the fall that hampers all their new shows and puts everything on hiatus a couple months early, and then they have American Idol in January, which is so powerful it can give shows like TIL DEATH a boost of life.

Actually, Fox's development has been unusually strong this year. Only 'Til Death and Standoff got pickups at all from a really poor batch last year (and in Standoff's case, it seemed like they were picking it up just to pick up SOMETHING), but they have a lot of pretty buzzed pilots this time around. First of all, there's Back to You (formerly known as Action News), which Fox won in a massive bidding war over the Christopher Lloyd-created, Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton-starring newsroom comedy. Although there are shades of last year's limp The Class in terms of pre-pilot hype, the buzz on Back to You hasn't been bad, so Fox might be onto a winner there. They also have The Return of Jezebel James on the comedy side, from Amy Sherman-Palladino, although the buzz has been so non-existent that it's been shunted to midseason, which is slightly worrying (despite the presence of Parker Posey and Lauren Ambrose). Their drama pilots, while nothing too revolutionary, all have a solid feel to them as well.

Still, there's a lot of irritating shunting around here, and some reality shows that sound like desperate attempts to fill the gap in the Idol-less fall.

Let's have a gander:

SUNDAY
Fall:
7pm: The O.T. in 2007
8pm: The Simpsons
8.30pm: King of the Hill (new time)
9pm: Family Guy
9.30pm: American Dad

January:
7pm: King of the Hill
7.30pm: American Dad
8pm: The Simpsons
8.30pm: Family Guy
9pm: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (new show)

The typical animated comedy on Sundays stays basically the same, with none of the new animated pilots making it and survivor King of the Hill hanging in their for a 12th season. Then in January, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, an action-packed Terminator prequel TV show, is supposed to launch out of the animated comedies. It could actually serve as decent counter-programming to female-skewing Desperate Housewives and old-skewing Cold Cast, but I'm surprised Fox held this one over to midseason and whacked it on a Sunday night.

Predictions: This IS the final season of King of the Hill. The Simpsons gets a bit of a boost from the release of the Simpsons movie in the summer. And Sarah Connor Chronicles manages to carve out a niche for itself to squeak a second season.

MONDAY
Fall:
8pm: Prison Break
9pm: K-Ville (new show)

January:
8pm: K-Ville
9pm: 24

Spring:
8pm: Prison Break
9pm: 24

Owie. My head hurts. K-Ville, a stirring-sounding cop drama about post-Katrina New Orleans, is bound to garner notice, and the buzz is strong. I'm sure it'll be better than Vanished was last year. It doesn't quite feel right with Prison Break (although I don't know how fast-paced it is), but there really isn't anywhere else to put it, so this'll have to do. 24 returns in January and K-Ville (if it's still alive) moves back an hour to make way, and then Prison Break finishes off its season in concurrence with the Bauer hour once K-Ville is run through.

Predictions: Sadly, despite the buzz, I can't see a moody NoLa cop drama managing to cut viewers out of Heroes/DWTS/2.5 Men. K-Ville doesn't make it, maybe one of Fox's other midseason drams like Canterbury's Law steps in. Maybe not. Prison Break gets even more ridiculous, so it either collapses in on itself or somehow manages a fourth-season pickup. Sadly, the latter seems more likely. Bad buzz or not, 24 isn't going anywhere (picked up through the 08-09 season as it is).

TUESDAY
Fall:
8pm: New Amsterdam (new show)
9pm: House

January:
8pm: American Idol
9pm: House

Last year, they switched House and its new partner (Standoff) to see if House could give Standoff a little boost. It didn't work and was generally just confusing, so I guess they've dropped that this year. New Amsterdam is about an immortal cop in search of love (sounds a lot like CBS' Moonlight, 'cept without the bloodsucking), but in a fairly easygoing timeslot it can survive, particularly if it gets a kick from being paired with House. Still, it'll take some critical notice to do so, as it doesn't sound very hot or youngster-skewing. In January, the behemoth that is the AI/House pairing descends to crush anything else that dares air opposite it.

Predictions: House's numbers without AI prove better than last year, to the terror of Chuck and Reaper. New Amsterdam might manage a pickup, as it is shuffled off to Fridays post-Idol anyway.

WEDNESDAY:
Fall:
8pm: Back to You (new show)
8.30pm: 'Til Death (new time)
9pm: Bones

January:
8pm: Back to You
8.30pm: 'Til Death
9pm: American Idol

Spring:
8pm: Back to You
8.30pm: The Return of Jezebel James (new show)
9pm: American Idol
9.30pm: Til Death

Aah! Confusing! I guess the rumors about an all-comedy night on Fox turned out to be wrong, so we get this sort of halfway-ish equivalent instead. Back to You is buzzy enough to make a name for itself in a weak hour, and 'Til Death will probably evolve to the level of solid performer now that it's had its Idol bump. Bones works tirelessly away at 9, ready to be shuffled around if need be. Then, with the arrival of AI, we have to wait until APRIL to see if Jezebel James is really as underwhelming as many are alleging. Starting it off in April doesn't bode particularly well for its chances, but the AI bloc might help it out.

Predictions: Back to You is enough of a hit to survive. 'Til Death gets a third-season pickup. Jezebel James...is such an unknown quantity, I can do little except hope that it'll blow us all away. Its timeslot is essentially good enough to give it a fighting chance, though.

THURSDAY:
Fall:
8pm: Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?
9pm: Kitchen Nightmares (new show)

January:
8pm: Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?
9pm: Canterbury's Law (new show)

Unsurprising hit Fifth Grader is already big enough that I think it could help out the shows it's leading into this season. Kitchen Nightmares is the Gordon Ramsey show that I actually like on UK TV, and I think it could translate well, and Canterbury's Law seems like a sort of safe, fun legal drama that plenty of people could settle into. Of course, that timeslot is murder, but I don't think Fox are interested in the greatest numbers from it.

Predictions: Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader grows in power, eventually becoming a launchpad for Jeff Foxworthy's Presidential bid. Kitchen Nightmares does whatever it wants to do, maybe managing a renewal. Depending on reviews, Canterbury's Law either impresses enough to eke a renewal and a nicer timeslot, or fizzles pretty quickly a la Justice last year. Right now I'd guess the latter, but who knows?

FRIDAY:
Fall:
8pm: The Search for the Next Great American Band (new show)
9pm: Nashville (new show)

January:
8pm: Bones (new time)
9pm: New Amsterdam (new time)

The fall slate is so mind-numbing, I won't even address it. Frankly, I don't care if it gets picked up or not.

Bones on a Friday is kinda crappy, as it really shows they have little interest in making a real night around it. But I'm sure it'll do fine on Fridays, it does fine everywhere. New Amsterdam, if it survives, could make a little name for itself here. Or another show like K-Ville might find itself dumped here in an effort to keep it alive.

Predictions: The reality shows both get a second season. New Amsterdam, if it makes it, survives here. Bones smiles wistfully as it gets a fourth season.

2 comments:

Todd VanDerWerff said...

Man, is there a show that gets worse treatment than Bones? And yet it hangs in there.

I'll bet it doesn't move to Friday. It didn't last year. I don't even know why Fox does a January schedule this early in the game.

Filipe said...

Unless Back at You flops I actually don't see how Bones will menage to escape Fridays this year. But it can always get the Monday slot and run without repeats till Prison Break comes back (then one can always hope that Prison Break loses whatever audience it still has on fall and Fox just burn the remaining season somewhere).

And speaking of Fridays, if Moonlight actually survives the fall (and after seen the promo it sounds bland and CBS-ish enough to do that) and Fox keeps this schedule they would have the similar-themed New Amsterdam at the same slot.