May 11, 2015

NIELSENWAR: The FOX Fall Schedule (with Trailer Reviews)


FOX may be in 4th place for the season, but it has the hot hand right now, with Spring blockbuster Empire and surprise success The Last Man On Earth livening up its season.  It’s trying to build on those with an aggressive Fall schedule (new shows are in ALL CAPS, new timeslots are in italics):


8PM:  Gotham

9PM:  MINORITY REPORT (trailer here)

Gotham was softening quite a bit by the end of the season, and may only be able to provide a moderate lead-in to its new companion.  Based on the trailer, it’s not clear that Minority Report is going to have the coolness factor that makes a genre show fast out of the gate.  Despite the futuristic trappings, it appears to be a variation on Person of Interest, where every week our heroes will have fragments of information about a crime that hasn’t occurred yet, and they’ll have to figure out the details.  This could be a tougher night than the network is expecting.


8PM:  GRANDFATHERED (trailer here)

8:30PM:  THE GRINDER (trailer here)

9PM:  SCREAM QUEENS (no trailer yet)

An all-new night is always a major risk.  The idea here is that all these shows are arriving with pre-sold audiences, thanks to John Stamos and Rob Lowe anchoring the two comedies, and the Ryan Murphy brand name behind Scream Queens.  No previews of the latter are available, although the on-air ads strongly suggest that Murphy placed American Horror Story and Glee into a blender and pressed On.  Whether young-skewing horror snark will be compatible with the middle-aged charms of Stamos and Lowe is uncertain.  As for the comedies themselves, Grandfathered feels like a multi-camera show that’s being shot with one camera, promising nothing much other than “Look, it’s John Stamos!” appeal, but The Grinder, about the longtime star of a TV legal show hit who decides to become a real lawyer after it’s canceled, even though all he knows about the law is what’s in his scripts, is more promising and could be a sleeper.


8PM:  ROSEWOOD (trailer here)

9PM:  Empire

If there’s one sure thing about next fall’s ratings, it’s that FOX’s numbers on Wednesdays will be hugely higher than last year’s Empire-less fall.  Rosewood looks to be a good pairing with Empire, not just due to the back-to-back African-American appeal, but because its breezy procedural air is reminiscent of the early days of Bones.


8PM:  Bones

9PM:  Sleepy Hollow

Thinking of Bones… expectations can’t be high for this line-up.  Bones has been aging and sagging in the ratings, and although Sleepy Hollow was compatible when they aired together on Mondays last fall, its ratings have also been trending downward.  Airing against The Blacklist and (probably) Scandal won’t help.


8PM:  Masterchef Jr

9PM:  World’s Funniest

FOX is more or less taking the night off on Fridays, willing to accept modest ratings for modest costs.


7PM:  NFL Overrun

7:30PM:  NFL Post-Game/Bob’s Burgers

8PM:  The Simpsons

8:30PM:  Brooklyn Nine-Nine

9PM:  Family Guy

9:30PM:  The Last Man On Earth

The night ain’t broke (yet), and didn’t require any fixing.

In addition, FOX has LUCIFER (which may have been the show to run with GOTHAM on Mondays), THE FRANKENSTEIN CODE, sitcom THE GUIDE TO SURVIVING LIFE and cartoon BORDERTOWN on tap for midseason (all available trailers here), plus the limited-series revival of THE X FILES.

OVERALL:  Having EMPIRE in both Fall and Spring (a total of 18 episodes, compared to 12 this past season) obviously gives FOX a strong base to build on, enough so that the network announced that next season will be the last for AMERICAN IDOL.  On a weekly basis, gains are all but certain thanks to the blockbuster drama.  But Tuesdays are a big question mark, with all-new shows that may not fit together, and MINORITY REPORT may not get the lead-in from GOTHAM it needs on Monday.  The BONES/SLEEPY HOLLOW pairing doesn’t seem more than modestly promising.  FOX needed to do some housecleaning, though, and this is what a broom looks like.


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."