Coming off a bumpy season and facing its first fall without three hours of "X Factor" in several years, FOX announced its 2014-15 schedule on Monday (May 12) morning.
Actually, FOX only announced its Fall 2014 schedule on Monday. For the first time in recent memory, FOX didn't even attempt to present a midseason slate to advertisers as part of its upfronts presentation. Certainly FOX has plenty on the bench for a busy midseason, but the network has held back on January plans, perhaps waiting on the fate of the ambitious reality series "Utopia."
While "X Factor" and its three hours are now, thankfully, gone, FOX scheduled two fall episodes with "Utopia," airing new episodes on Tuesday and Friday nights. In success, FOX execs have indicated that "Utopia" could continue forever -- Just like "Forever Eden"! -- which would impact FOX's spring slate. FOX also may want to hold off on deciding how much "American Idol" to air in the spring.
But spring is a long time in the future. Let's look at fall, which includes the usual time period change for "Bones," an ambitious slot for FOX's "Broadchurch" remake and an intriguing mixture of live-action and animation on Sundays, breaking up Animation Domination.
Check it out, night-by-night:
FOX is starting the week off with its biggest-name new pilot. The DC Comics prequel series "Gotham," featuring Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue and a Muppet Babies cast of famous "Batman" villains (but only a pint-sized Bruce Wayne), will air at 8 p.m. on Mondays, leading into "Sleepy Hollow," which hasn't aired a new episode since January.
The first "Utopia" episode of the week will air on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Based on the hit Dutch series, "Utopia" finds 15 ordinary Americans moving to a remote location and trying to restart society on their own terms. Naturally, FOX will have that leading into increasingly low-rated comedies "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project."
FOX will also aim for a mixture of reality and scripted programming on Wednesdays. A new season of "Hell's Kitchen" will air in the 8 p.m. hour and will lead into "Red Band Society," executive produced by Steven Spielberg and featuring an ensemble cast fronted by Oscar winner Octavia Spencer.
After spending time on Mondays and Fridays this season, "Bones" is returning to one of its many former haunts, airing on Thursday at 8 p.m. In an interesting move, FOX as slotted "Broadchurch" remake "Gracepoint" on Thursdays at 9 p.m. for what will be a 10-episode limited run.
"Masterchef Junior," which performed well on Fridays last fall, will be back on Fridays at 8, leading into a second installment of "Utopia."
Sundays, FOX will air NFL post-game until 7:30, followed by "Bob's Burgers" and "The Simpsons." Then, in an interesting twist, the Golden Globe-winning comedy "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" will air at 8:30, followed by "Family Guy" and then the multi-cam "Mulaney."
No matter what happens with all of these pieces in the fall, FOX has a lot more elements ready to inject at midseason and the network is intentionally holding back on a January schedule to figure out how to utilize those resources.
On the bench, FOX has the animated comedy "Bordertown," as well as the comedies "The Last Man on Earth" and "Weird Loners."
Then on the new drama front, FOX has "Backstrom," "Empire" and "Hieroglyph," plus the limited series "Wayward Pines." [Note that Terrence Howard stars in "Empire" and also has a key role in "Wayward Pines," so FOX should definitely pair those two together in an effort to mobilize all available Terrence Howard fans for two consecutive hours.]
FOX also has new runs of "American Idol," "The Following" and "Glee" for midseason.
“Our portfolio of content this year reflects the biggest investment in programming we’ve ever made," blurbs 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.”
FOX also has a few specials for the 2014-15 season, including the freshly announced and entirely self-explanatory Pitbull's New Year's Revolution," the daredevil "Jump of the Century" and the previously announced "Grease Live."
Here's a list-y version of the schedule:
FOX FALL 2014 SCHEDULE
(All Times ET/PT)
8:00-9:00 PM GOTHAM (new)
9:00-10:00 PM SLEEPY HOLLOW
8:00-9:00 PM UTOPIA (new)
9:00-9:30 PM NEW GIRL
9:30-10:00 PM THE MINDY PROJECT
8:00-9:00 PM HELL’S KITCHEN
9:00-10:00 PM RED BAND SOCIETY (new)
8:00-9:00 PM BONES
9:00-10:00 PM GRACEPOINT (new)
8:00-9:00 PM MASTERCHEF JUNIOR
9:00-10:00 PM UTOPIA (new)
7:00-10:30 PM FOX SPORTS SATURDAY
7:00-7:30 PM NFL Game
7:30-8:00 PM 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 MULANEY (new)