5:00am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Upfronts: Fox Fall Schedule Includes Early 'Empire' Return, Retooled Tuesday
Even with 10 new series set to roll out over the coming season, Fox brass knows what's most important: 2015 breakout Empire. And while many assumed broadcast's new No. 1 series would not make it back on the schedule until later in the calendar, the fall lineup has it back in the Wednesday roost that worked so well earlier in the year.
In lieu of a segue to 8 p.m., where the show might be a handsome lead-in for a new drama, Fox is not messing with its proven success. But procedural Rosewood does get the vote of confidence to share the night with Empire's 18-episode sophomore run, opening the Wednesday block. Another show not going anywhere is Gotham. The network will keep the breakout at 8 p.m. on Mondays, using it as a lead-in for new order and internal favorite Minority Report.
“Building on the phenomenal momentum created by Gotham, The Last Man on Earth and, of course, Empire, we’re infusing next season’s schedule with new ambitious dramas; smart comedies; aspirational, unscripted series and big live events and specials – all from the best creators in the business,” said Fox Television Group chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman, on the occasion of their first upfronts as network chiefs. “And our strategy with these bold creative swings is simple: schedule them strategically, market them relentlessly and create events that break through and captivate viewers across every platform.”
One of the biggest pieces of news Fox shared on Monday, of course, is that American Idol will end with its 15th season. Per usual, that won't be until midseason — where the network is planning to launch many of its new orders (Lucifer, The Frankenstein Code, The Guide to Surviving Life and long-planned animated comedy Bordertown), the much-hyped X-Files revival and the fifth season of New Girl. Fox will air the comedy, uninterrupted, starting in January.
Moving New Girl does allow the net to make big changes on Tuesday. Half-hour comedies Grandfathered and The Grinder kick off at 8 p.m. before big swing (and Walden and Newman's first scripted order back in October 2014), Scream Queens. The Ryan Murphy horror-comedy anthology will air its 15-episode freshman season in the 9 p.m. slot. The complete renovation of the night comes after several years of struggles on Tuesdays. New Girl's ratings are not what they used to be, The Mindy Project languished for much of its run and the 8 p.m. hour has been a revolving door of reality (Utopia, MasterChef Junior, Hell's Kitchen) since the four-comedy block fizzled back in 2013.
There are few changes later in the week. Time slot migrant Bones will stay put on Thursdays, leading into a shifted Sleepy Hollow. The latter struggled greatly during its second season, airing on Mondays. Friday is home to the previously renewed MasterChef Junior and Terry Crews comedy clip show World's Funniest. Sunday will continue to play home to both animated series and live-action comedies, with Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Last Man on Earth both on deck for fall.
And two midseason dates that are set are the premieres of The X Files and Grease: Live. The six-part revival of the classic drama gets the NFC Championship Game boost on Jan. 24, while the musical event bows the following Sunday on Jan. 31.
The complete fall schedule
8:00-9:00 PM GOTHAM
9:00-10:00 PM MINORITY REPORT (new)
8:00-8:30 PM GRANDFATHERED (new)
8:30-9:00 PM THE GRINDER (new)
9:00-10:00 PM SCREAM QUEENS (new)
8:00-9:00 PM ROSEWOOD (new)
9:00-10:00 PM EMPIRE
8:00-9:00 PM BONES
9:00-10:00 PM SLEEPY HOLLOW
8:00-9:00 PM MASTERCHEF JUNIOR
9:00-10:00 PM WORLD’S FUNNIEST
7:00-10:30 PM FOX SPORTS SATURDAY: FOX COLLEGE FOOTBALL
7:00-7:30 PM NFL ON FOX
7:30-8:00 PM THE OT / BOB’S BURGERS
8:00-8:30 PM THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9:00 PM BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM THE LAST MAN ON EARTH