By Jordan Walker
Fox plans to make some major shakeups for its 2010-2011 season.
Day two of the annual upfront presentations let Fox shine in the spotlight while the network presented its new fall and spring offerings.
Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly was quoted that this fall’s programming is “designed to be aggressive” against competition, “not just to maintain” the ratings Fox currently has. Fox’s biggest failure for the last couple of years has been to launch a successful live action comedy block that could put them in competition with the other networks. Fox will try very hard this upcoming season to come out strong with three new live action comedies, two debuting in the fall, and one next year, as well as a new animated comedy slated for next year.
Although networks usually wait until January to make a big splash with new shows, Fox plans to do things differently this year, especially since their main midseason drama over the last few seasons, “24,” is ending this month. Also, as the once mighty “American Idol” continues to lose its audience, and will loose mainstay Simon Cowell after this season, Fox needs to try to knockout competing channels now.
One strength that Fox will have this coming season is that it has placed strong returning shows as lead-ins for the new freshmen class of shows.
On Mondays, the seventh season of “House” will kick off the night at 8 p.m., giving the new Texas based soap opera “Lonestar” a nice lead in to its 9 p.m. slot. This decision should help “Lonestar” get stellar ratings, as “House” is one of Fox’s consistently hottest shows, and it is likely that the ‘coming up next’ commercials will help the freshman show.
Fox will use its biggest hit of this past season, “Glee,” to launch a new comedy block on Tuesday nights. “Glee” will move up an hour to 8 p.m. as Fox attempts to re-create the family sitcom magic that ABC made this past season, with “Modern Family,” with its own new family sitcom “Raising Hope” at 9 p.m. Will Arnett and Keri Russell will round out the night by starring the new romantic comedy “Running Wilde” at 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday nights this fall will see some old favorites, including the third season of “Lie to Me” at 8 p.m. and the eighth season of the cooking reality show “Hell’s Kitchen” at 9 p.m.
Thursday has been Fox’s most solid night of the week, so the network is keeping that night’s schedule intact from September to May with its two hit dramas “Bones” and “Fringe.”
Fridays have been a problem night for Fox, as well as many other networks, so Fox is hoping familiarity will help the night’s ratings. Fox has placed the returning action drama “Human Target” at 8 p.m. as a lead in to the new cop comedy/drama “The Good Guys” at 9 p.m. “The Good Guys,” which will debut this summer, is one of the rare summer series that will actually continue into the fall season after its summer run.
Sunday nights will remain an all-animated-comedies night this year. The lineup will start at 8 p.m. this fall with “The Simpsons,” followed by “The Cleveland Show,” “Family Guy,” and “American Dad.”
One of the most talked about events at the presentation is Fox’s decision to promote “Glee” by exposing it to millions of viewers after Super Bowl XLV. Additionally, the “American Idol” results show on Wednesdays will shift to a half-hour format. This has raised some red flags because some see the shortening of the results show as the network’s subtle way of telling the audience it is losing confidence in the once all mighty “Idol.”
Entertainment executives at Fox always shuffle their schedule around once January comes, and this year is no different. Once January comes around, “Lonestar” will forfeit its 9 p.m. Monday timeslot to the new Chicago based cop drama “Ride-Along.” Tuesdays will start with the “American Idol” performance show from 8 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., followed by Fox’s third new live action sitcom “Mixed Signals” at 9:30 p.m. Both “Raising Hope” and “Glee will shift to Wednesdays, “Raising Hope” at 8 p.m., and “Glee” at 9 p.m. In between will be the new half hour “American Idol” results show. The fourth season of the reality show “Kitchen Nightmares” will air at 9.m. on Friday nights behind “Human Target” at 8 p.m. “American Dad” will be benched, and “The Cleveland Show” will move to the 9:30 p.m. slot after “Family Guy” to make room for Fox’s newest animation comedy, “Bob’s Burgers,” at 8:30 p.m.
Fox still left a lot of questions unanswered during its presentation, such as its plans for Saturday nights. Since “The Wanda Sykes Show” has been cancelled, there is no current decision on Saturday night programming. Also, as Simon Cowell leaves “Idol,” who will who will fill the huge whole he has created? And lastly, the biggest question left unanswered: where will the much anticipated, new Steven Spielberg-produced dinosaur drama, “Terra Nova,” land and on the schedule? Fox says it will debut sometime midseason, but offered no specific date. Apparently, time will tell.