Forget about inopportune leaks to the trades. FOX's schedule dropped into my e-mail box at exactly 5:30 a.m. precisely on schedule. Of course, between photo gallery crafting and the first of five "Survivor" exit interviews this morning, my quick reactions to the FOX schedule have been a bit delayed.
As I love to say, "The best laid schemes o' FOX an' Men, Gang aft Aglee."
Or, as the paraphrased Yiddish proverb goes, "FOX tracht un Gott lacht," or "FOX plans, God laughs." I often feel like I spend half of my life revising previously announced FOX schedules. I highly doubt that this year's installment is going to be any different. "Good Guys
" on Fridays in the fall? That assumes it survives its summer. "Lie to Me" leading off Wednesdays in the fall? We'll see if a rough summer keeps that plan in place. "Raising Hope" leading off Wednesdays in the spring? It's a pretty big assumption it survives the fall looking strong enough to make that move. "Human Target" still on Fridays in the fall? Not if it performs up to FOX's normal Friday levels in the fall. But most of all...
New "American Idol" format? As if.
"Idol" won't be able to fit 12-performance episodes (or 11 or 10 performance episodes) into a 90-minute half-hour. And then the idea of how bloated those later episodes will be with six or several performances in 90 minutes? Ugh. Meanwhile, FOX is going to get to spring and realize the advantages of a full hour of "Idol" ratings on Wednesdays, same as the network has done every single time (in recent seasons) anybody has announced a 30-minute result episode. Last time they did that, they backed down and said that audiences love the performances and guest stars on the Wednesday shows. Have audiences changed that dramatically? On the assumption that sans Simon ratings will drop anyway, it makes zero sense for FOX to expand the programming
time that hinges heavily on Simon's personality and reduce the scheduling time that doesn't require Simon at all. That just doesn't make sense.
FOX keeps coddling "Glee."
FOX loves "Glee." We all know that. But the continued coddling of "Glee" confuses me. Giving the post-Super Bowl slot to "Glee" isn't a bad idea. It's a celebration-type show that will absolutely come up with a celebration-type episode for the occasion. But the way it mostly reads is like the new Spielberg show, "Terra Nova," simply isn't likely to be ready in time, because otherwise that's the sort of event show that could legitimately benefit from that sort of Super Bowl exposure. Meanwhile, keeping "Glee" post-"Idol" in the spring makes perfect sense in terms of flow, but it makes questionable sense in terms of properly using an asset which may be heading into decline. I think rumors of the death of "Idol" have been exaggerated, but I'd still try getting as much value out of it as a launching pad as possible. Mostly, this seems to suggest that FOX isn't 100 percent convinced that "Glee" is the breakout mainstream smash it currently appears to be, rather than the devoted cult favorite it was in the fall.
Fridays are interesting. If "Good Guys" works over the summer -- and I kinda like it, so I hope it is -- FOX's Friday will actually make a bunch of sense. Both "Human Target" and "Good Guys" are ol' fashioned escapist entertainment and they both require exactly as much commitment as audiences are usually prepared to dedicate on a Friday night. I don't think, however, that either show is strong enough to force viewers to overcome their clear antipathy toward FOX's Friday. "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" and "Dollhouse" were also a fine pair of compatible Friday shows that ought to have been able to find exactly a large enough niche audience to survive on Fridays, but they didn't. FOX's best case scenario is that "Good Guys" is a surprise summer hit (relatively speaking) and the network can swap it into the 8 p.m. hour on Friday, because as much as I like "Human Target," I don't anybody really is convinced it can kickstart a night.
Some of the new programming is intriguing. I haven't seen clips yet, but I can imagine myself watching "Lonestar," "Ride-Along" and "Running Wilde" without any trouble and even "Raising Hope," provided Cloris Leachman doesn't kill it for me. I wonder, though, how on-brand some of these shows are.