May 12, 2014 5:00am PT by Michael O'Connell
Fox Fall Schedule: Live-Action Comedy on Sunday, 'Utopia' Gets Two Nights
Fox is set for a big transition during the 2014-15 TV calendar. With the network's anti-pilot season orders starting to roll out during the fall and several vacant X Factor hours up for grabs, the current No. 2 network may prove to have more scheduling changes than any other member of the Big Four.
The biggest shift is on Sunday nights. A three-hour block formerly occupied by cartoons, Animation Domination is being broken up by the addition of two live-action comedies: surprise Golden Globe darling Brooklyn Nine-Nine and freshman Mulaney. The conventional comedy duo aren't even back-to-back, airing at 8:30 and 9:30, respectively. Family Guy remains at 9 p.m., sandwiched between the non-toons.
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X Factor's considerable hole is, at least in part, being filled by ambitious reality play Utopia. The social experiment series from John de Mol was the first big unscripted move from new reality chief Simon Andreae, and it's getting two hours on the schedule: Tuesdays at 8 p.m. and Fridays at 9 p.m. For those keeping track, both hours were reserved for comedies this past season -- neither making any strong ratings impact, with the exception of steady critical favorite Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
"Our portfolio of content this year reflects the biggest investment in programming we've ever made," said Fox Entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly. "Fox is redefining the network experience on our air and as a 24/7/365 platform, with distinctive series, addictive event dramas and can't-miss live specials that will deliver broadcast's most youthful audience at scale."
Thursdays are now without reality for the first fall in some time. Perpetually migrating Bones, airing its tenth season, opens the night at 8 p.m. now. The show has been a reliable ratings Band-Aid for Fox, and it now leads into one of the network's big event series plays, Gracepoint. The adaptation of the U.K.'s award-winning Broadchurch will air at 9 p.m..
Tweaks to Monday come as no surprise. After this fall's very successful launch for Sleepy Hollow, Fox's biggest new hit of the last year returns to the same hour. It will have a new lead-in with Gotham. The genre-friendly Batman prequel opens the night at 8 p.m..
Some of Fox's biggest plays remain unscheduled. In addition to the fact that Glee's final season is not debuting until 2015, big straight-to-series orders Backstrom, Hieroglyph, The Last Man on Earth, Wayward Pines and Weird Loners are also on the bench -- as is recent pickup Empire and the long-gestating cartoon Bordertown. American Idol also makes its return at midseason, renewed for its 14th cycle.
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Two shows that are not moving are New Girl and The Mindy Project. The duo remain in the 9 p.m. Tuesday hour, after a season that saw the former tumble quite a bit in live-plus-same-day ratings. The Simpsons is also still fixed to the 8 p.m. half-hour of Sunday, and the opening hour of Friday primetime still belongs to Gordon Ramsay with the return of doubly renewed MasterChef Junior.
That leaves Hell's Kitchen at the top of the night on Wednesdays, leading into Octavia Spencer starrer Red Band Society at 9 p.m.
As for specials, there are three of them. Fox makes a play for New Year's ratings with a new countdown hosted by Pitbull, and the previously announced live rendition of Grease is set for a three-hour telecast some time in 2015.
The network has also ordered something in the ever-popular daredevil vein -- a jump across Idaho's Snake River Canyon to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Evel Knievel completing the feat. (Stuntman Eddie Braun and daredevil Big Ed Beckley will both vie to not fall into the 2,300-foot-deep canyon on a yet-to-be-determined date.)
Fox's Complete Fall 2014-15 Schedule
8:00-9:00 p.m. -- Gotham
9:00-10:00 p.m. -- Sleepy Hollow
8:00-9:00 p.m. -- Utopia
9:00-9:30 p.m. -- New Girl
9:30-10:00 p.m. -- The Mindy Project
8:00-9:00 p.m. -- Hell's Kitchen
9:00-10:00 p.m. -- Red Band Society
8:00-9:00 p.m. -- Bones
9:00-10:00 p.m. -- Gracepoint
8:00-9:00 p.m. -- MasterChef Junior
9:00-10:00 p.m. -- Utopia
7:00-10:30 p.m. -- Fox Sports Saturday
7:00-7:30 p.m. -- NFL Game
7:30-8:00 p.m. -- Bob's Burgers
8:00-8:30 p.m. -- The Simpsons
8:30-9:00 p.m. -- Brooklyn Nine-Nine
9:00-9:30 p.m. -- Family Guy
9:30-10:00 p.m. -- Mulaney