Monday, May 14, 2012

2012 Upfront Answers, Fox


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

MONDAY

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.

TUESDAY

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.

WEDNESDAY

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.

THURSDAY

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.

FRIDAY

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.

SUNDAY

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

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

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.

3 comments:

Spot said...

No surprises here. Simply there was no space for any.
Three hours of comedy, three hours of X-Factor, Glee and Bones were fixtures for fall. Given Guilty is not yet ordered and The Following is 13 to 15 episodes order, The Mob Doctor is fall show by default - to give it chance for 22 episodes run.
Only 2 mildly unexpected things for me are: Touch at Friday already in fall, and Glee moving from Tuesday 8PM.
I expected Touch at Friday ... but in midseason. It seems Fox execs think Touch has shot on syndication, so they want 22 episodes season. Then it's logical to start with it in fall. What's illogical is: to expect it lives for 3 1/2 more seasons, even second full season looks like a stretch.
I don't like 2 hours of comedies on Tuesday, cause they don't have 2 anchors, I'd feel different if they'd have it. Raising Hope to anchor 8PM slot ... it can't finish good. Given situation, it's irrational for me not to use X-Factor at Thursday as a launching pad for new comedies.

Another network I don't feel sorry about, another network paying for past bad decisions in scripted shows development. In last 5 years or so Fox had no new scripted show that was hit for more than 1 season, save for the Glee, 2 seasons wonder. Last show before Glee that reached syndication numbers is Bones (2005). Network stroke out on 6/7 new dramas over last 2 seasons and 7th (Touch) got pity renewal.

The Following could be a hit, while other 2 dramas (one if Guilty is not picked) doesn't look terrible, though a bit unoriginal. Meanwhile, Mindy has disaster written all over itself, Ben & Kate have disadvantage of leading out of Raising Hope and The Goodwin Games has unsustainable premise - what they'd do after games are over? Maybe authors plan to game it all the way through 6 seasons and a movie?

Spot said...

That lack of vision on Fox's part is troubling. They only have to look over their shoulder at NBC and, to a lesser extent, ABC, to see what multiple years of drama failure can get you. I sometimes wonder if NBC wasn't in the right to ditch Kevin Reilly, the insanity of his successors aside...

Spot said...

They want to make Mindy an anchor. That's the vision: work on unscripted and comedy this season, worry about dramas next season.

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