Upfronts: Fox's New Shows and 2014-15 Schedule

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  • Publish Date: May 12, 2014

Updated 5/13 with an additional trailer for Last Man on Earth and longer Wayward Pines and Utopia trailers.

Our comprehensive coverage of the TV network upfront presentations this week in New York continues with a look at Fox's plans for the 2014-15 season. We'll have additional reports for the other networks each day this week. See more upfronts coverage...

Fox

Highlights and notes

  • Fox will launch at least a dozen new titles in 2014-15, with 6 dramas (including Batman prequel Gotham), 4 comedies, a reality show, and a miniseries.
  • Animation Domination is over ... partially. Live action will be heading to Sunday nights this fall, with Brooklyn Nine-Nine and newcomer Mulaney mixed in with Bob's Burgers, The Simpsons, and Family Guy.
  • Fox has extended the order for the upcoming second season of Sleepy Hollow to 18 episodes.
  • The rapidly fading American Idol will have a significantly decreased presence on the schedule next season, airing around 37 hours in total instead of 56-60. That will likely translate to a reduction to one night a week instead of two, at least after the audition rounds.
  • The final season of Glee will likely be shorter than the 24 episodes previously announced. The series will also be held back until midseason.
  • M. Night Shyamalan's Twin Peaks-esque miniseries Wayward Pines, originally announced for last season—and then for this summer—will now debut during the 2014-15 season.
  • An hour-long Simpsons/Family Guy crossover episode is on tap for September.
  • Fox is also betting (like other networks) on the live event genre. In addition to the shows listed below, Fox will follow NBC's lead (The Sound of Music, Peter Pan) and broadcast its own live stage musical this season: Grease. And Pitbull will host Fox's new, live New Year's Eve broadcast (possibly called Pitbull's New Year's Revolution) from Miami. Finally, Jump of the Century will find two stuntmen aiming to do what Evel Knievel could not accomplish four decades ago: jump across Idaho's Snake River Canyon.

Renewed and canceled

With all of the major renew/cancel decisions coming last week, there were no surprises in today's announcements, though Fox did finally confirm a renewal for Family Guy (which was previously awaiting an official announcement, though its future was not in question).

Scripted shows are in bold below.

Renewed   Canceled or Ended   Fate Uncertain
American Idol
Bob's Burgers
Bones
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Family Guy
The Following
Glee
Hell's Kitchen
MasterChef
MasterChef Junior
The Mindy Project
New Girl
The Simpsons
Sleepy Hollow
  Almost Human
American Dad! **
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Dads
Enlisted
Murder Police †
Raising Hope
Rake
Surviving Jack
Us & Them †
The X Factor
  24 *
Gang Related *

Hotel Hell *
I Wanna Marry "Harry" *
Kitchen Nightmares
Riot *
So You Think You Can Dance *

* Season debuts this summer; status will be determined after show airs.
** Canceled by Fox, but moving to TBS with new episodes next season.
† Canceled without airing any episodes.

Fox's 2014-15 primetime schedule

New programs are indicated in bold in the schedule below. All times are ET/PT unless otherwise indicated.

Fox Fall 2014 Schedule
  7:00 7:30 8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30
SUN (NFL) Bob's Burgers The Simpsons Brooklyn
Nine-Nine *
Family Guy Mulaney
MON   Gotham Sleepy Hollow
TUE   Utopia New Girl The Mindy Project
WED   Hell's Kitchen * Red Band Society
THU   Bones * Gracepoint
FRI   MasterChef Junior Utopia
SAT   Fox Sports Saturday

* New day and/or time

Midseason debuts that do not yet have a day/time:
American Idol. Backstrom, Bordertown, Empire, The Following, Glee, Hieroglyph, The Last Man on Earth, MasterChef, Wayward Pines, Weird Loners, and possibly additional shows

Fox's new shows

The 12 first-year series ordered for Fox's 2014-15 season are detailed below. Pilots that did not get picked up include Dead Boss (a Barry Sonnenfeld-directed comedy starring Jane Krakowski, David Cross, and Amy Sedaris), Fatrick (a comedy directed by Jim Rash & Nat Faxon and starring Zach Cregger), The Middle Man (a 1960s-set Mafia drama produced by Ben Affleck), and No Place Like Home (a multi-camera comedy starring Jane Kaczmarek and Jon Heder).

However, a few more buzz-y shows that have yet to be greenlit, including Cabot College (a Tina Fey-produced comedy about four guys who enroll in a historically all-female school) and Sober Companion (starring Nick Frost and Justin Long) are still alive and could be picked up in the near future. In fact, the network may continue to announce new series pickups throughout the year, as part of its recent pledge to move away from a traditional pilot development season.

ImageBackstrom
COMEDY/DRAMA tbd midseason

Originally developed for CBS a year ago (but rejected by that network, where it wasn't a good stylistic fit), this 13-episode, hour-long, comedic crime procedural from Bones creator Hart Hanson is based on the Swedish book series by Leif G.W. Persson. Rainn Wilson (The Office) stars as Portland, Oregon's grumpiest police detective, Everett Backstrom, who speaks his mind too freely and leads a self-destructive lifestyle while heading up his department's Serious Crimes Unit. (Yes, it's basically another House clone, though a trailer for the aborted CBS version suggested that it will at least be funnier than that show.) Dennis Haysbert (24), Thomas Dekker (The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Kristoffer Polaha (Life Unexpected), and Page Kennedy (Weeds) also star, though the CBS version's Mamie Gummer has been replaced by Genevieve Angelson (House of Lies).

ImageBordertown
ANIMATED COMEDY tbd midseason

While Fox may have canceled Dads and American Dad! (though the latter is shifting to TBS), don't cry for Seth MacFarlane; the producer has another animated series heading to Fox next season. Created by Family Guy scribe Mark Hentemann, Bordertown will be set in a fictitious desert town near the Mexican border, where it will center on the lives of two neighbors: an American Border Patrol agent, and a hard-working Mexican immigrant. Issues of race and culture will no doubt be handled with the subtlety and nuance that has become MacFarlane's hallmark. The voice cast includes Nicholas Gonzalez (Sleepy Hollow), Alex Borstein (Family Guy), Efren Ramirez (Napoleon Dynamite), and Judah Friedlander (30 Rock).

ImageEmpire
DRAMA tbd midseason

"I wanted to make a black Dynasty." That's what director Lee Daniels recently told THR, and that seems to be what he has in this new hip-hop family drama that he co-created with his The Butler screenwriter Danny Strong (also an Emmy winner for Game Change). Fox, meanwhile, is probably hoping for a more successful Nashville, with album tie-ins virtually certain. Timbaland provides the soundtrack to this soapy tale of hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), who must choose a successor from among his three very different sons when he learns that he has a life-altering disease, while simultaneously fighting off a challenge from his ex-wife, played by Taraji P. Henson. Malik Yoba and Gabourey Sidibe also star, though the latter's role may be limited (Fox now has her listed as a guest star).

ImageGotham
DRAMA Mondays at 8p

Easily the highest-profile entry among Fox's new programs, Gotham is set in DC Comics's Batman universe, though it will be a prequel to Batman's story, centering on the origin story of future Gotham City Commissioner James Gordon (Southland's Ben McKenzie) in his days as a rookie detective, before he meets the Caped Crusader. Just because there is no Batman (at least until the eventual series finale) doesn't mean that there won't be any recognizable characters, however. You'll see a pre-teen, pre-cape Bruce Wayne, plus Detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) and younger versions of Selina Kyle/Catwoman (newcomer Camren Bicondova), The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), Alfred, and likely many more. Jada Pinkett Smith will also star as a brand-new character, crime boss Fish Mooney. The series comes from Bruno Heller, creator of Rome and The Mentalist, and unlike, say, Agents of SHIELD, Gotham is expected to be a fully serialized story. 16 episodes have been ordered for this first season.

ImageGracepoint
DRAMA Thursdays at 9p

If you opted not to watch Broadchurch, one of last year's best new TV dramas, because you don't like shows in a foreign language (in this case, British), you're in luck: like everything else from overseas, it will get a second life as an American TV series. The setting for this dark crime drama about a murder investigation that rocks a small seaside town has been shifted to California, but David Tennant (Doctor Who) will reprise his lead role as a high-ranking police official who arrives in town with a troubled past. (Yes, he'll adopt an American accent.) While the great Olivia Colman will not be making a similar jump to the new series, her role as the lead investigator on the case will go to Breaking Bad's Anna Gunn, and the strong supporting cast will feature Jacki Weaver, Nick Nolte, Michael Peña, and Kevin Rankin. The mystery will be solved at the end of the 10 episodes (two more than in the original series), though Gracepoint will conclude differently than Broadchurch did. Note that Broadchurch will return for a second season in the UK (and presumably on BBC America as well), though it is uncertain if Tennant's character will return to that show. British network ITV announced this afternoon that both Tennant and Colman will return for the second season of Broadchurch, with production getting underway shortly.

ImageHieroglyph
DRAMA tbd midseason

If it didn't have a few greybeards in the cast (not pictured), this could easily pass for a CW series. This new 13-episode fantasy adventure is set, as you may have surmised, in ancient Egypt, where a thief (British actor Max Brown, Beauty and the Beast) has been released from prison to work for the Pharaoh (Reece Ritchie) in a world filled with criminals, concubines, schemers, and sorcerers. John Rhys-Davies also stars, and the series comes from Travis Beacham (screenwriter of Pacific Rim and Clash of the Titans). Hieroglyph was ordered straight to series without a pilot (which presumably would have been too expensive to film), making this a big bet on viewers' appetites for silly costume fantasy on broadcast television. Maybe it will be better than it sounds. (Or, potentially more fun: much worse than it sounds.)

ImageThe Last Man on Earth
COMEDY tbd midseason

Another series ordered without a pilot, this incredibly ambitious midseason comedy is created by Will Forte, who stars as literally the last human left alive on the planet in the year 2022, after an unlikely event wipes out the rest of the world's population. (Or at least seems to have done so; despite a wide search, he hasn't found any other survivors yet.) What happens when you have the freedom to go wherever you want, take whatever you want, and do whatever you want? With any luck, something interesting and funny. Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie) direct the first episode and serve as producers.

ImageMulaney
COMEDY Sundays at 9:30p

Oh, hello. Originally developed at NBC last season (only to be rejected despite good buzz for the pilot—well, good buzz for the pilot's star, at least), Mulaney was subsequently retooled and picked up by Fox, which likes the new Lorne Michaels-produced show so much it recently boosted the first-season order from 6 episodes to 16. (Though Fox head Kevin Reilly isn't doing the show any favors by comparing it out of the gate to Seinfeld.) The semi-autobiographical, multi-camera comedy (taped, old-school style, before a live studio audience) is a vehicle for stand-up comedian John Mulaney (also a former SNL writer and Kroll Show co-star), who plays a young aspiring comedian trying to take his career to the next level. Martin Short, Nasim Pedrad (SNL), Elliott Gould, Seaton Smith (Totally Biased), and Zack Pearlman (The Virginity Hit) also star, while Penny Marshall and Lorraine Bracco will guest.

ImageRed Band Society
DRAMA Wednesdays at 9p

Fox hopes that this Steve Spielberg-produced high school drama will become this generation's 90210 or The O.C. Given Fox's recent struggles, the network would probably even settle for "the next Gossip Girl." At the very least, the semi-comedic, hour-long Red Band Society (based on the Spanish series Polseres vermelles) features an unlikely setting for a teen soap: the pediatric wing of a Los Angeles hospital, where a group of young patients meet and form friendships, united by their shared experiences and uncertain futures. The adult presence is led by Octavia Spencer, the head nurse in the pediatric ward, and Dave Annable (Brothers and Sisters), a surgeon there. The adaptation comes from writer Margaret Nagle (Boardwalk Empire, Warm Springs).

Utopia
REALITY Tuesdays at 8p plus Fridays at 9p

Airing two nights a week, Fox's latest reality experiment (like all good reality series, adapted from a European format) will ask a group of 15 people to move to an isolated location for an entire year (!) and build their own civilization from scratch (while, of course, being filmed 24/7). Since society-building can't possibly sustain audience interest for an entire season, there will be the requisite number of eliminations as well, though each person kicked off the show will be replaced by a newcomer. The series is expected to launch early, before the remainder of the network's fall schedule premieres, and an online component will fill in the gaps between episodes.

ImageWayward Pines
MINISERIES tbd midseason

Delayed from the 2013-14 season, this 10-part miniseries—sounding a bit like Twin Peaks lite—comes from M. Night Shyamalan, who, in a shocking twist, keeps getting his projects greenlit by Hollywood. Based on Blake Crouch's novel Pines, the thriller is set in a seemingly idyllic small town in the Pacific Northwest, where a Secret Service agent (Matt Dillon) begins a missing persons investigation that quickly reveals a more sinister and creepy side of the town. The good news is that Shyamalan is not writing the series (Playboy Club's Chad Hodge has that responsibility), and the even better news is that the cast is excellent: Melissa Leo, Toby Jones, Juliette Lewis, Terrence Howard, Carla Gugino, Reed Diamond, and Shannyn Sossamon will star alongside Dillon.

ImageWeird Loners
COMEDY tbd midseason

Weird Loners subverts the proven Friends formula by having only four (not six!) young single friends live in close proximity to each other in New York—specifically, in a Queens townhouse. Risky! Becki Newton (Ugly Betty), Zachary Knighton (Happy Endings), Nate Torrence (Hello Ladies), and newcomer Meera Khumbhani star as the four weird loners of the title, who each have a long history of relationship problems. The single-camera comedy comes from Michael J. Weithorn (co-creator of The King of Queens), while Jake Kasdan (Bad Teacher) directs the pilot. Just six episodes were ordered.

 

More coverage of the 2014-15 upfront presentations ...

 

Comments (3)

  • Spica  

    It's difficult, but I try my best to let each new show stand on its own without bias. Some that I thought were gonna be bad turn out to be great.. This past year it was Mom. Nothing about this show sounded good, but I gave it a shot and I kept coming back for more..

  • LamontRaymond  

    2 thoughts on Gracepoint: I love it (not really) when shows are imported and they change the ending - as if the ending were totally arbitrary in a show like that. Like it''s a dinner theater murder mystery in which the audience picks the murderer and the cast plays it out that way. (Hello, Drood!) And the fact that the bring the lead actor over and stick us with Anna Gunn, my least favorite actor in the stellar Breaking Bad, is unfortunate. However, I do love Jackie Weaver. Hope she's playing the mobile home lady with the dog.

  • Spica  

    Just when I gave up on FOX they drag me back. Lots of new shows have piqued my interest. I enjoyed Broadchurch on BBCA, but felt 'nicked' at the end. Hopefully Gracepoint will improve the story.

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