Monday, May 12, 2014

Fox Unveils Hefty Year-Round Schedule, Dismantles "Animation Domination," Pairs "Gotham" with "Sleepy Hollow"


Fox is blowing up its signature "Animation Domination" Sunday block in a bid to separate its female- and male-driven live-action sitcoms. "It's a big change," says Fox Entertainment chief operating officer Joe Earley.

On Sundays, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" will now air behind The Simpsons, while new comedy "Mulaney," based on comic John Mulaney's life, will run behind "Family Guy."

Fox will also use the new reality show "Utopia" – which moves 15 Americans to an isolated location to form a new world for a year -- to drive viewers to returning shows "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" on Tuesdays. Veteran reality competition "Hell's Kitchen" will similarly lead into new drama "Red Band Society," about teens who bond at a pediatric hospital, on Wednesdays. A second episode of social experiment "Utopia" will also air on Fridays.

Freshman hit "Sleepy Hollow" returns to Mondays at 9/8c, and it has a new companion on the night: The highly anticipated "Gotham," the pre-Batman origins story of Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie). Fox insiders say the show is their No. 1 new priority of fall. Within 48 hours of posting the Gotham trailer on YouTube, it had already been viewed 4 million times.

Also new is "Gracepoint," a limited series based on the British drama "Broadchurch," about a small town murder mystery. "Gracepoint" will air Thursdays at 9/8c following "Bones," making up a night of counterprogramming to CBS' Thursday Night Football.

In midseason comes the Egyptian adventure drama "Hieroglyph"; Rainn Wilson as an irascible police detective "Backstrom"; M. Night Shyamalan's limited-run thriller "Wayward Pines", starring Melissa Leo, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo; and the hip-hop drama "Empire," from Lee Daniels and Danny Strong and also starring Howard. (Fox could use "American Idol" in spring to launch Empire.) Midseason comedies include "Last Man on Earth" (starring Will Forte) and "Weird Loners," about pals in Queens. The network's one new animated series, "Bordertown," is also on tap for midseason.

All told, Fox will launch five new dramas, four new comedies, two event series and one new reality show next season. “Our portfolio of content this year reflects the biggest investment in programming we’ve ever made,” says 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.”

Besides new series, Fox also announced the live fall special "Jump of the Century," which will follow stuntman Eddie Braun and daredevil Big Ed Beckley as they try to jump motorcycles across Idaho's Snake River Canyon on the 40th anniversary of Evel Knievel's attempt. And as previously announced, Fox will air "Grease Live," a live three hour production of the musical, in 2015.

Returning shows include "American Idol," "Animation Domination High-Def," "Bob's Burgers," "Bones," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "Family Guy," "The Following," "Glee," "Hell's Kitchen," "Hotel Hell," "Masterchef," "Masterchef Junior," "The Mindy Project," "New Girl," "The Simpsons," "Sleepy Hollow" and "So You Think You Can Dance."

FOX FALL 2014 (All times Easterm)

MONDAY: 8 – "Gotham" (NEW); 9 – "Sleepy Hollow"

TUESDAY: 8 – "Utopia" (NEW); 9 – "New Girl"; 9:30 – "The Mindy Project"

WEDNESDAY: 8 – "Hell's Kitchen"; 9 – "Red Band Society" (NEW)

THURSDAY: 8 – "Bones"; 9 – "Gracepoint" (NEW)

FRIDAY: 8 – "Masterchef Junior"; 9 – "Utopia" (NEW)

SATURDAY: 7 – Fox sports

SUNDAY: 7 – "The OT"; 7:30 – "Bobs Burgers"; 8 – "The Simpsons"; 8:30 – "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"; 9 – "Family Guy"; 9:30 – "Mulaney" (NEW)

MIDSEASON: "Backstrom" (NEW); "Bordertown" (NEW); "Empire" (NEW); "Hieroglyph" (NEW); "The Last Man on Earth" (NEW); "Wayward Pines" (NEW); "Weird Loners" (NEW); "American Idol"; "The Following"; "Glee."

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