May 12, 2014

NIELSENWAR 2014-15: The Fox Schedule – Grid and Instant Analysis


Just a day after NBC announced the end of its Thursday Must-See-TV block of comedies, FOX is breaking up its Animation Domination Sundays with a pair of live-action sitcoms.  There are plenty of changes to the FOX line-up on the way, and here’s a quick breakdown:

FOX Fall Schedule 2014

MONDAY:  Matching the new Batman prequel GOTHAM with the return of SLEEPY HOLLOW makes every kind of sense and gives the network a unified genre night.

TUESDAY:  FOX is leaving NEW GIRL and THE MINDY PROJECT in their current low-rated homes, but preceding them with the first night of UTOPIA, a reality show based on a Dutch format that sounds like a grander version of Big Brother, where people form their own “civilization” while watched nonstop on the air and online.  Utopia is a giant question mark, so its effect on the comedies that follow is as well.

WEDNESDAY:  The sturdy HELL’S KITCHEN leads into the new RED BAND SOCIETY, an ensemble drama about teen medical patients.  Kitchen will give the new drama a decent although not enormous lead-in, which means Red Band will have to generate its own excitement if it’s going to break out.  In its favor is the fact that it will likely be airing against the much older-skewing SVU and Criminal Minds, as well as the aging Modern Family.

THURSDAY:  BONES has seen its best days, but it’s the best lead-in FOX has available for GRACEPOINT, which is a miniseries based on the British hit Broadchurch.  The UK version was quite grim but also a tremendous hit, and with no other procedurals on its plate, FOX will hope the story of a child killing in a small town sparks critical approval and public interest here as well.

FRIDAY:  An all-reality night as MASTERCHEF JUNIOR leads into the week’s second hour of UTOPIA.

SUNDAY:  After the NFL ends at 7:30PM, BOB’S BURGERS takes over (it’s not clear what FOX plans to do if football runs late, push its schedule or preempt Bob’s for the night), followed by THE SIMPSONS as the lead-in to the returning BROOKLYN NINE-NINE and then FAMILY GUY as the lead-in to the new MULANEY, which FOX likes enough that it extended the show’s order to 16 episodes last week.  Although it’s been so many years since live-action comedy aired on Sunday nights that the outcome is uncertain, the animated shows are the best lead-ins FOX can offer to its young male-skewing comedies.

FOX has a lot of shows on its bench for midseason, including the dramas BACKSTROM, HIEROGLYPH, EMPIRE, comedies WEIRD LONERS, THE LAST MAN ON EARTH and the animated BORDERTOWN, miniseries WAYWARD PINES, and the returns of THE FOLLOWING, GLEE (which it appears may have its order cut back from the 24 episodes currently set for this season) and of course AMERICAN IDOL (the latter will reportedly be reduced to a single 2-hour episode in most weeks).

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."