Monday, May 8, 2017

2017 Upfront Questions: Fox

Part two of the upfront preview is the SCHEDULE-centric portion, examining the big-picture scheduling questions each network faces on each night in the final week before its upfront.

On each night, you can see the network's average 2016-17 ratings with its most frequent occupant in three different sub-sections of the year: "fall" (premiere week through December 31), "winter" (January 1 to the beginning of Daylight Saving Time) and "spring" (the start of DST through Thursday, May 4). You can also switch from the A18-49 ratings to the True ratings, which should make the comparisons across nights and across the season a bit more fair.

Last week's Renewology was the SHOW-centric portion, drilling more into the merits of individual shows: Fox Renewology

More Upfront Questions: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW


winter24: LegacyAPB1.05
spring24: LegacyAPB0.75

Question: What becomes of Gotham and Lucifer?

The genre tandem has made for one of Fox's most solid nights, but taking them off the air for three months in favor of 24 and APB (not to mention dreck airing on other weeknights like My Kitchen Rules and Kicking and Screaming) was not exactly a show of favor. Leaving them here would be fine, but that may not happen if The X-Files is going to be back in the fall. Fox may be inclined to kick them both to Thursday or Friday if they can have X-Files lead into new X-Men drama Gifted.


fallBrooklyn Nine-NineNew GirlScream Queens0.77
winterNew GirlThe MickBones0.91
springBrooklyn Nine-NineThe MickPrison Break0.89

Question: How heavily will Fox invest in weeknight comedies?

Both Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl are still in limbo, and it's at least conceivable that Fox could want to give The Mick a full-time tryout on Sunday. So the network could totally get out of the game.  If comedy development is strong, it's also not that much of a reach to bring in a couple newbies and fill up this whole night, as they have tried many times before. Like most things Fox, it's just a big ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.


fallLethal WeaponEmpire2.53
winterLethal WeaponStar1.32
springShots FiredEmpire1.60

Question: What joins Empire this year?

In a mostly dire season for Fox, Lethal Weapon was a very legit success, and it could be a candidate to go somewhere else like Thursday alongside a new series. It's got to turn out better than trying to anchor Thursday with last year's Empire lead-in, Rosewood.

But Fox may also make the case that Empire lead-out juice is not going to be worth much going forward, and heaven forbid they use it as a lead-in. If they really are squared away with a comedy night, a Gotham / Lucifer night and a The X-Files / Gifted night, they may just choose to consolidate this power and take the fully competitive nights where they can get them. It'd certainly mesh with the network's tradition of over-protecting Empire.


winterHell's KitchenMy Kitchen Rules0.99
springMasterChef JuniorKicking and Screaming0.79

Question: Will Gordon Ramsay stay on a weeknight?

With yet another new Ramsay series coming this summer, it seems that Fox is settled on Hell's Kitchen and MasterChef Junior as the regular season series, so we will likely see them share a timeslot again. But the network has always seemed hesitant about putting them on a weeknight, even when there are far lower-rated weeknights like this year's Rosewood/Pitch or last year's two-hour comedy night. I guess this has something to do with advertisers but I don't know for sure.

If Lethal Weapon, The X-Files and the Gotham / Lucifer duo are all in play as potential weeknight anchors, they can more easily justify Ramsay on a Friday than has been the case in previous seasons. If it's not Hell's Kitchen or MasterChef Junior, we're looking at another big re-invention of the night that has been Fox's blankest slate.


fallHell's KitchenThe Exorcist0.85
winterRosewoodSleepy Hollow0.57
springRosewoodSleepy Hollow0.49

Question: How hard will Fox try on Friday?

Fox apparently loves The Exorcist, so we may very well see a redux of the fall 2016 lineup. We may also see Rosewood. Or all of Fox's other weeknight possibilities come to pass and Gotham and Lucifer get shoved over here.


fallThe SimpsonsSon of ZornFamily GuyThe Last Man on Earth1.47
winterThe SimpsonsSon of ZornFamily GuyBob's Burgers1.30
springThe SimpsonsMaking HistoryFamily GuyThe Last Man on Earth0.88

Question: Which live action comedies will get Sunday exposure?

It's possible Fox bails on weeknight comedy and just throws The Mick here, but I could only get behind that if comedy development was catastrophic. The better play is to put something new at 8:30 and keep rolling with The Last Man on Earth and Bob's Burgers at 9:30.

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