Last week, I did a series of pre-upfront posts called "Upfront Questions" in which I posed one question for each night of the schedule. My post-upfront coverage is called "Upfront Answers," in which I take a look at how they addressed my questions.
Other Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | The CW | General
For further reference: Fox True Power Rankings | Fox Upfront Questions
8:00-9:00 PM Bones
9:00-10:00 PM THE MOB DOCTOR (new)
My Question: Is Bones capable of anchoring a competitive Monday?
Apparently Fox thinks so, anyway. We'll have to see about that this fall. The fact that Fox has only ordered two new dramas couldn't have hurt either; I still think that in an ideal world, they'd have put two fantastic drama pilots together on the night. Instead, Bones will lead into Fox's only new drama of the fall, The Mob Doctor.
8:00-8:30 PM Raising Hope
8:30-9:00 PM BEN AND KATE (new)
9:00-9:30 PM New Girl
9:30-10:00 PM THE MINDY PROJECT (new)
My Question: Can New Girl bounce back from its spring woes?
They seem to think so, as it will remain at the center of a four-comedy evening and (as everyone thought) lead into Mindy. I'm glad they went ahead and pulled the trigger on the four-comedy night and weren't too discouraged by the failure of a block that had two shows with no business even being alive. I did think Raising Hope was too weak for the lead-off spot, so I guess the bar is now set pretty low for Ben and Kate. I have to feel like if they really loved that show, they'd have gone ahead and led off with it.
8:00-10:00 PM The X Factor (fall) / American Idol (midseason)
My Question: Is it time to start considering a world after American Idol?
Apparently not. For now, the plan is to keep banging home the two-hour editions. I have to say I'm almost hoping that The Mob Doctor and Ben and Kate work so that Fox will be forced to push some stuff after Idol at midseason. I just don't think Fox is in a position to not use their biggest program to lead into something. Even with another drop equal to this year's, Idol will still be a big hit next season.
8:00-9:00 PM THE X FACTOR Results (fall) / AMERICAN IDOL Results (midseason)
9:00-10:00 PM Glee
My Question: What leads out of The X Factor and Idol results shows?
The Glee rumors were true. The one time Fox uses its big competition lead-in is on a fourth-year drama. I still think Fox's best play was some kind of new procedural, but they haven't yet made the call on Cuba Gooding Jr.'s Guilty, so there was no way they could've gone that route. I'm pretty skeptical based on CBS' series orders that they will add a fourth comedy hour, which means this hour may not be quite as open to crime drama as it appeared. So I don't really mind Glee.
8:00-9:00 PM Touch
9:00-10:00 PM FRINGE (fall)
HELL'S KITCHEN returns in midseason.
My Question: What does Fox Friday look like after Fringe is over?
Typo? Do they mean Kitchen Nightmares? I said back when Hell's Kitchen was last renewed that I wouldn't rule out a midseason return, but I would think Nightmares would be the more likely choice. Regardless, this is exactly what I hoped Fox would do; put some drama at 8/7c to join Fringe and at least give that show a chance at getting a back nine and becoming a Friday fixture. The way Touch has performed in recent weeks makes me think an actual Friday success is something of a long shot, but at least they now have a clear backup so the night won't totally falter.
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!
My Question: Where does the demise of The Flinstones leave Fox?
It leaves them bringing back the existing five shows and with no apparent plans for anything new. As I said, that's less of a problem here than it is in other regions of the Fox universe, but it'd still be nice to see them try something. It looks like most of the Fox new animation energy is going toward that late-night Saturday block
This was basically exactly how I envisioned the schedule based on what got picked up. I wasn't exactly out on a limb in doing so, but it's hard to complain too much about the arrangement.
My real problem with Fox is that I think they should've ordered more new shows. We'll see what happens with Guilty, but I'm not sold even that would be enough. The way they operated here suggests they think the saturation of the singing competition market was just a one-time event and these shows will go back to being relatively stable (at their depressed levels) starting next season and chew up three schedule hours ad nauseam. Meanwhile, they have just five dramas on the whole network that even have a chance to make it to 2013! Fox is almost assured of another "good" season in the relative landscape, but a few years of really weak drama development have quietly exhausted much of their safety net. And their insistence on not using X Factor and Idol to help out anything new suggests they don't really realize it.