Five New Fall Series; The X Factor Expected to Lead the Pack
Historically, Fox is never a competitive player in fourth quarter because of pre-emptions for baseball and the absence of mega-hit American Idol (which, of course, always ignites the network in first and second quarter). But the tide could turn thanks to highly anticipated singing competition The X Factor, which reunites Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. By lying low since the conclusion of Idol last spring, Cowell has wisely kept viewers hungry for more.
Overall, Fox has architected what could very well be its best primetime line-up ever. This fall, the network will introduce five new series: sitcoms New Girl, I Hate My Teenage Daughter and animated Allen Gregory; new Steven Spielberg dinosaur drama Terra Nova, which anchors Monday (into returning House), and aforementioned The X Factor, which populates the Wednesday 8-9:30 p.m. block and the Thursday 8 p.m. hour.
Fox also announced its midseason line-up, and will add returning American Idol (in place of The X Factor) plus three additional new series: dramas Alcatraz and Bones spin-off The Finder, and animated Napoleon Dynamite. And another new drama, Touch with former 24 star Kiefer Sutherland, is also on the horizon.
Thanks the ongoing hunger for singing competitions, not only does can’t miss The Factor populate two and-one-half hours (or 17 percent) of its 15-hour schedule, it provides potential ample lead-in support to new Wednesday 9:30 p.m. comedy I Hate My Teenage Daughter (not to mention veteran Bones on Thursday). With American Idol still topping the charts, there is every reason to believe the return of Simon and Paula (coupled with co-judges Cheryl Cole and Antonio “L.A.” Reid) will keep that dominant reality/competition tradition alive. Only this time, potential juggernaut The X Factor will open the season, handing over the torch to returning American Idol in midseason.
Since one edition per season of American Idol has worked on Fox for 10 years, the early season arrival of The Factor could be its next long-running tradition.
Earlier in the week, highly anticipated Terra Nova, which focuses on an ordinary family on an incredible journey back to prehistoric Earth, could give sagging lead-out House a much-needed boost, while animated Allen Gregory on Sunday out of The Simpsons and into Family Guy is positioned well (and will be replaced by Napoleon Dynamite, based on the theatrical of the same name). Needless to say, Fox is wisely positioning its next generation of potential animated hits. When Terra Nova concludes its initial 13-episode run, House will shift back to Mondays at 8 p.m. into new drama Alcatraz, which tries to capitalize on former similar appeal Monday hit Prison Break.
Since no network is perfect, Fox is not without its potential weaknesses. After several attempts (including critically acclaimed Raising Hope, which has a limited audience), the network remains without any live action sitcom hits (a la years past with That ‘70s Show and Malcolm in the Middle). While aforementioned I Hate My Teenage Daughter will certainly get sampled out of The X Factor, its survival depends on the level of retention. Relationship-driven New Girl out of still potent Glee also has the benefit of potential ample lead-in support, but the sophomore musical combination of comedy and drama is already losing steam.
While no network wants to make changes on every night of the week (consistency is a factor on any schedule), returning Kitchen Nightmares into scripted drama Fringe underperformed this season on Friday; and the network will replace departed America’s Most Wanted on low HUT-level Saturday with repeats of Terra Nova.
Regardless, the pros on Fox far outweigh the potential cons, and Fox this fall is poised for momentum thanks, in particular, to can’t miss The X Factor. If any other new series succeeds, consider that an added bonus. And, if you happen to like animated classic The Flintstones, and who doesn’t, there is a new version on the horizon for 2012. Yabba Dabba Doo!
Here is Fox’s line-up this fall:
8:00 p.m. TERRA NOVA
9:00 p.m. House (new time)
8:00 p.m. Glee
9:00 p.m. NEW GIRL
9:30 p.m. Raising Hope (new time)
8:00 p.m. THE X FACTOR PERFORMANCE SHOW
9:30 p.m. I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER
8:00 p.m. THE X FACTOR RESULTS SHOW
9:00 p.m. Bones
8:00 p.m. Kitchen Nightmares
9:00 p.m. Fringe
8:00 p.m. Cops (original and repeat)
9:00 p.m. Terra Nova (R)
7:00 p.m. The OT
7:30 p.m. The Cleveland Show (new time)
8:00 p.m. The Simpsons
8:30 p.m. ALLEN GREGORY
9:00 p.m. Family Guy
9:30 p.m. American Dad
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Marc Berman is the Editor in Chief for TV Media Insights, the online destination for television and media. Berman has appeared on camera for Extra, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, The CBS Evening News, CNN, and more; and his 2014 desk calendar, “Today in TV History,” will be available next fall.
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