May 3, 2013

THE SKED’S Pre-Upfront Projected FOX Fall Schedule


See Also:  THE SKED’s Pre-Upfront Projected NBC Fall 2013 Schedule

We’re continuing with SHOWBUZZDAILY‘s versions of the Fall 2013 network schedules, which may or may not reflect what the networks will actually announce at their Upfront presentations the week of May 13  These schedules, as usual, were put together by Mitch Metcalf and myself, along with former NBC Head of Current Programming Ted Frank.  Note: our pilot choices are based on the show’s auspices (creator, producers, cast) and premise, and our sense of its potential match with the shows around it and its competition.  Some of these predictions will inevitably prove to be misguided.  (Although that won’t mean we were wrong.)  Also, many more pilots will be picked up than we have listed in these charts, with the remainder debuting throughout the course of next season.

Let’s take a look at FOX:

Upfront 2013 Predicted FOX Grid

The story of FOX this season is inevitably about the crumbling of American Idol.  A show that 2 years ago had a 6.4 rating on the first Wednesday of May fell to 4.7 on the parallel date in 2012 and a 2.9 this week.  (On Thursdays, the first 2011 airing in May had a 6.1, which fell to 4.0 in 2012 and 2.6 last night.)   In 2011, Idol was the unquestioned #1 show on television, and even last year, it was behind only Sunday Night Football.  Last night alone it was outrated by 4 other series.  The result is that FOX is projected to plunge more than 20% from last season to a 2.1 average.  Many self-described experts will weigh in on why Idol has toppled and whether its fall can be reversed, but if the drop continues, FOX could be in for a bumpy 2013-14 season.  It’s a dagger blow for a schedule that’s otherwise been quite consistent and will be next season as well, since most of the network’s series have been renewed.  Despite FOX’s increasingly precarious position, there aren’t many changes ahead:

MONDAY:  BONES is well past its peak, but it’s consistently at or near a 2, which these days is just fine.  It’ll stay where it is to serve as a lead-in to what will have to be a new series, since Mob Doctor flopped and Kevin Bacon’s deal for THE FOLLOWING only requires him to do 15 episodes per season, pushing it again to January.  The most promising FOX drama appears to be RAKE, with Greg Kinnear as your basic brilliant lawyer with inner demons, and written by Peter Tolan, whose Rescue Me established his anti-hero credentials.

TUESDAY:  The 4-sitcom line-up was a disappointment this season, especially the drop for NEW GIRL, which looked like it was going to be a breakout hit but instead sank back to moderate success.  Since NBC will probably continue to run sitcoms after The Voice on Tuesdays, the competition won’t get much easier (although ABC, if it’s wise, will bow out of its aborted comedy Tuesday).  Nevertheless, it’s hard to see anywhere else the network’s live-action comedies can go, so we think the night’s structure will remain as-is.  FOX had one of pilot season’s most notable “gets” when Andy Samberg signed on for the new comedy written by Parks & Recreation‘s Michael Schur and Dan Goor, and that sounds like it could be strong enough to lead-off a night.  We have it at 8PM, with Raising Hope shifting to 8:30PM, and then New Girl and The Mindy Project following.  (Fun fact:  if FOX goes with this line-up, it means half its Tuesday shows will be produced by NBC-owned Universal Television, which is also behind Mindy.)

WEDNESDAY:  THE X-FACTOR looks better than ever now that Idol has been dropping like a stone.

THURSDAY:  X-FACTOR again, and then GLEE, which is far from the numbers of its heyday (2 years ago, it was scoring in the mid-3s on Tuesdays, slipping to 2.5 last season, and last night it had a 1.8), but still valuable thanks to its demo appeal and ancillary sales.

FRIDAY:  FOX does well enough with whichever of KITCHEN NIGHTMARES or HELL’S KITCHEN it chooses for 8PM, but will need something to replace Touch at 9PM.  We like HUMAN for that slot, a robot-cop drama hailing from the JJ Abrams team that gave us Fringe (much-maligned, but it stayed alive for years) and with an appealing lead in Karl Urban.

SUNDAY:  The real question for FOX on Sunday isn’t what it’ll do next season (little if any change is likely, although after football ends it’ll probably have to replace THE CLEVELAND SHOW at 7:30PM), but what its plans are for the season after that.  All signs are that this really will be the final season for THE SIMPSONS, and that anchor will be missed.  Although BOB’S BURGERS and AMERICAN DAD do reasonably well in the satellite slots of the night, neither seems able to make that leap, so the network may need to develop something else (and quickly–animated shows require long lead time), add some live-action to the cartoon mix, or take a hit on that night.

Do you agree?  Tell us your thoughts about our FOX projections below!


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."