Tuesday, May 8, 2018

2018 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 2017-18 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 3). 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


fallLuciferThe Gifted0.97
winterLuciferThe Resident0.89
springLuciferThe Resident0.78

Question: Which dramas make it to the drama-light Monday?

This is always an important question for Fox because facing ABC/NBC unscripted and CBS comedy presents such a great counter-programming opportunity for dramas. This year, they have a hugely successful known quantity in 9-1-1, which seems like a perfect fit. If it does go to Monday, will it be used to boost a newbie, or one of the timeslot incumbent sophomores The Resident or The Gifted?


fallLethal WeaponThe MickBrooklyn Nine-Nine0.87
winterLethal WeaponLA to VegasThe Mick0.92
springLethal WeaponLA to VegasNew Girl0.72

Question: Will Tuesday require a minor revamp, a major revamp or no revamp?

If Lethal Weapon returns in the fall, it would not be shocking to see the night look basically like it did last year. Lethal Weapon does well but is not a clear launch pad on a 9-1-1 level, so punting with stuff like LA to Vegas and The Mick wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. But if Lethal Weapon falls through due to the Clayne Crawford situation, the alternatives are probably worse. With or without Lethal, the night seems like a reasonable enough landing spot for season two of The Gifted, which Fox will likely try to get back in the fall. I could also see the talks about a Last Man Standing revival being a contingency plan for a world without Lethal Weapon.


winterThe X-Files9-1-11.33

Question: Is there any reason to break up Empire and Star?

I would not break up Empire and Star, but I'm just throwing that out there as something to "answer" in case we don't hear anything about midseason at the upfront. I thought that keeping Star afloat even with Empire help was gonna be a tough task, but it has really done well, and I can't see there being a better use of the Empire lead-in. There is another Lee Daniels pilot in the pipeline, and I have seen some speculation that may be what is holding up the Star renewal. But it is on the comedy side, so I don't think they would try to shoehorn that in here?

The midseason plan will have to be overhauled since The X-Files looks unlikely and 9-1-1 should be used in the fall. Gordon Ramsay is always an option.


fallGothamThe Orville0.94
winterThe Four1.19
springGothamShowtime At the Apollo0.63

Question: Will we get a schedule for midseason Thursday?

The Thursday Night Football acquisition shores up fall Thursdays, which have been a problem for Fox for most of the recent past (though a little less so with Gotham and The Orville last year). But winter and spring still have to be addressed. The Four was a nice choice for the winter last year, and would be a good call assuming it doesn't get overexposed by airing in the summer as well.


fallHell's KitchenThe Exorcist0.61
winterHell's Kitchen911 (R)0.77
springMasterChef Junior0.76

Question: What takes over for The Exorcist on Friday?

Please, not The Exorcist itself. It seems like fading returnees Gotham and Lucifer would be the shows angling for the Friday real estate. Maybe they could even get reunited if Gordon Ramsay needs to go back to the midweek at some point.


fallThe SimpsonsGhostedFamily GuyThe Last Man on Earth1.19
winterThe Simpsons (R)Ghosted (R)Family Guy (R)LA to Vegas (R)0.44
springThe SimpsonsBrooklyn Nine-NineFamily GuyThe Last Man on Earth0.84

Question: Does Brooklyn Nine-Nine make a return to Sunday in the fall?

It seems like there's a pretty simple way to make that happen: Fox could put Brooklyn at 9:30 and still give a newbie that NFL-inflated The Simpsons lead-in juice at 8:30. But there are several alternatives: maybe The Last Man on Earth somehow beats out Brooklyn; or they axe 'em both and give Bob's Burgers the 9:30 slot instead; or they axe 'em both, push Family Guy to 8:30, and put something like The Orville (whose season one timeslot will be taken over by football) at 9:00. Putting an hour-long program at might mean the next incarnation of Cosmos could easily slip in later in the season.

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