'911' Texas-Set Spinoff 'Lone Star,' Starring Rob Lowe, Ordered Straight to Series at Fox

rob lowe - Getty - H 2018
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Ryan Murphy is ready for his Dick Wolf moment.

The prolific producer's Fox procedural 911 is getting an Austin, Texas-set spinoff, 911: Lone Star, which has been picked up straight-to-series at the newly independent broadcast network. Rob Lowe (Parks and Recreation, The Grinder) is set to star in the spinoff, which is set to air on the network during the 2019-20 broadcast season.

Showrunner Tim Minear — who renewed his overall deal with now Disney-owned 20th Century Fox TV — will serve in the same capacity on the spinoff and exec produce alongside his fellow co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. The series was co-created by Murphy, Falchuk and Minear. (Murphy and Falchuk remain involved in both series after they each departed producers 20th TV for lucrative pacts with Netflix.)

The series follows a sophisticated New York firefighter (Lowe) who, along with his son, relocate to Austin and must try to balance saving those who are at their most vulnerable with solving the problems in his own life. It's unclear if any members of the original series will join the spinoff, which Lowe also co-exec produces.

"The beauty of having a hit drama like 911 from the genius minds of Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear is it allows you to explore thrilling stories as told through an array of distinctive characters," said Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn. "In 911: Lone Star, they’ve given us a special opportunity to expand the franchise into new territory — literally and figuratively — and we’re thrilled to have the incomparable Rob Lowe headline this new iteration when it joins our schedule next season."

911: Lone Star arrives as the original procedural remains Fox's top-performing drama series and as a prime example of the sort of broad-skewing series the broadcast network is looking for as it enters its first full season as a newly independent broadcast network. It is the sixth drama series order of the season (up from two last year). It joins recently ordered Filthy Rich, Next, Deputy, Prodigal Son and the untitled Annie Weisman-Jason Katims sisters entry. All told, Fox's dramas hail from proved producers including Murphy, Tate Taylor (The Help), Manny Coto (24), Greg Berlanti (18 shows), David Ayer and Katims. Unlike the five other new dramas, Fox Entertainment will not be a co-producer on 911: Lone Star as the series remains fully owned by 20th TV.

Sources say Murphy has been keen on expanding 911 into a larger franchise akin to the way Wolf has done with NBC's slate of Chicago procedurals that features three series set within a hospital as well as police and fire departments. Lone Star gives Fox a new franchise after the network recently canceled Empire's lesser-watched spinoff Star. Franchises are becoming increasingly the norm across the TV landscape as it's hard to cut through a cluttered landscape featuring nearly 500 originals. CBS has three NCIS dramas — all returning for the 2019-20 season — as well as Wolf's FBI and spinoff FBI: Most Wanted. (And with mega-hit Big Bang Theory ending this season, spinoff prequel Young Sheldon remains.) Over at ABC, the Disney-backed network — which will own both 911 shows after acquiring 20th TV — has Grey's Anatomy and spinoff Station 19 as well as The Goldbergs and spinoff Schooled, and Black-ish and its newly ordered prequel spinoff, Mixed-ish. And there are more on cable and streaming platforms.

Fox, meanwhile, has taken what sources describe as a "scrappy" approach to its first season as an independent broadcast network under CEO Charlie Collier. The former AMC executive has already taken two bold swings for summer — a 90210 show-within-a-show revival and aftershow spoof What Just Happened — and is expected to bolster the network's midseason offerings after scoring a hit this year with The Masked Singer. Fox has little room for scripted in the fall with The Masked Singer expected to return in September alongside Sunday animation, postseason Major League Baseball, Thursday Night Football and wrestling on Fridays. 

For Murphy, 911: Lone Star joins an impressive slate that includes FX's American Horror Story, Pose, Feud, American Crime Story, Fox's 911, Netflix's The Politician, Ratched and Hollywood. The latter is the first series Murphy is producing outside of his longtime home at 20th TV while the futures of anthologies American Crime Story and Feud are both awaiting word on their respective creative.

Lowe, whose impressive roster of credits also includes Code Black, Brothers & Sisters and The West Wing, is repped by WME.

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