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Fox Upfronts Preview: First Look at ‘Lethal Weapon,’ ’24: Legacy,’ ‘Star’ and Other New Shows

Entertainment president David Madden on Fox's event series strategy for next season.

(updated Monday 8:30 a.m. ET with new scheduling/strategy information) Fox is still in empire-building mode. The network of “Empire” is looking to up its game next season by unveiling a string of loud, noisy franchises — including the return of early aughts hits “Prison Break” and “24.”

With no more “American Idol” taking up space in midseason, the network has plenty of room in its schedule to fill. Fox plans to do that with a whopping eight new dramas and three new comedies. Some of those new entries are shorter-order “event series,” like “Prison Break” and “Shots Fired.” Fox also has the movie special “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” airing in October.

READ MORE: The Case for Why Fox Should Premiere ’24: Legacy’ Behind the Super Bowl

“They have a lot of stuff,” said one rival network executive. “They basically picked up [almost all of their pilots]. They’re clearly just going to rotate a lot of stuff through their schedule. It’s going to take a lot of marketing.”

Just like NBC, Fox will enter fall with just three new shows, saving the lion’s share of its freshman entries for winter and spring. Newcomers “Prison Break,” “24: Legacy” and “Shots Fired” will be treated like big TV events in the winter, while the network has also ordered new spins on familiar franchises, including “The Exorcist” and “Lethal Weapon,” both of which will premiere in fall.

The idea of turning Fox into an event-driven network comes after the success it has had with specials like “Grease: Live” and limited series like “The X-Files.” Even “Empire” has been marketed like a major weekly event. Fox also has the biggest TV event of the year, the Super Bowl, next year, and it will premiere “24: Legacy” behind the big game.

Fox ran into trouble ratings-wise this year. Season-to-date, Fox is averaging 5.9 million viewers in primetime, placing it last among the four major broadcast networks. Among adults 18-49, Fox is third with a 1.9 rating, just a hair above fourth-place ABC (1.8). Fox might point out that traditional Nielsen ratings don’t accurately measure its vast viewership across other platforms, which is why the network no longer reports overnight ratings.

READ MORE: NBC Preview: Here’s A First Look at New Shows for Fall

“The story of Fox this year is they have the No. 1 broadcast drama yet they’re still down 4 percent,” said another rival. Fox renewed three freshman shows from this year: “Lucifer,” “Rosewood” and “Scream Queens,” although none are considered breakout hits.

The biggest surprise at Fox may have been the cancellation of two promising comedies: John Stamos’ “Grandfathered” and Rob Lowe’s “The Grinder.” That’s probably a sign that Fox will stay put with its animated Sunday block (which now includes some live action) and either keep or reduce its Tuesday comedy lineup. Fox only ordered three new comedies for next year: “Making History,” “The Mick” and “Son of Zorn.”

Read More: Network TV Carnage: What’s Cancelled, What’s Renewed and What’s New

We asked Fox Entertainment president David Madden to fill out our Upfront Survey. Here’s his take on what’s to come:

1. What were your main goals this development cycle? We wanted to find another powerful serialized drama for the “Empire” audience. With “Bones” leaving our air next season, we were really eager to launch the next police/crime show for Fox. And we also wanted to develop a family comedy that fits the Fox brand; something that could carry on the tradition begun with “Married with Children” and “The Simpsons.”  As it looks right now, we may just have achieved all three of those goals.

2. What were you most proud of this past TV season? There are several things I’m most proud of.  First, keeping “Empire” the No. 1 broadcast show. And Season 3 will be even better! Bringing back “The X-Files” — which delivered more than 25 million viewers across all platforms when it premiered and is the No. 1 new series this season — definitely is a highlight. And “Grease: Live” was a one-of-a-kind triumph, and a professional memory I’ll treasure forever.

3. What is your TV guilty pleasure right now? FX’s “Baskets.”  I didn’t understand the first couple of episodes; I’m not sure I ever understood it. But it made me laugh.

4. What is the biggest game changer (or disrupter) in the TV biz this year? The vastly increased volume of original content from the streaming services. It not only creates a more competitive market for viewers, but also for talent and auspices.

5. How would you change pilot season? More off-cycle pilots. It will be a while before anyone gets rid of pilot season altogether. But it would be so much better to complement it by ordering additional pilots whenever they’re ready.

Even though it no longer has “American Idol” to worry about in winter, Fox will still divide its schedule into three parts next year:


MONDAY: 8 p.m., “Gotham”; 9 p.m. “Lucifer”
TUESDAY: 8 p.m., “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”; 8:30 p.m., “New Girl,” 9 p.m.
“Scream Queens”
WEDNESDAY: 8 p.m., “Lethal Weapon” (new drama); 9 p.m., “Empire”
THURSDAY: 8 p.m., “Rosewood”; 9 p.m., “Bones”
FRIDAY: 8 p.m., “Hell’s Kitchen”; 9 p.m., “The Exorcist” (new drama)
SATURDAY: 8 p.m., college football
SUNDAY: 7 p.m., “NFL on Fox”; 7:30 p.m., “The OT” or “Bob’s
Burgers”; 8 p.m, “The Simpsons”; 8:30 p.m., “Son of
Zorn” (new comedy); 9 p.m., “Family Guy”; 9:30 p.m., “The
Last Man on Earth”


MONDAY: 8 p.m., “24: Legacy” (new drama); 9 p.m. “APB” (new drama)
TUESDAY: 8 p.m., “New Girl”; 8:30 p.m., “The Mick” (new comedy); 9 p.m.
“Kicking & Screaming” (new alternative series)
WEDNESDAY: 8 p.m., “Lethal Weapon” (new drama); 9 p.m., “Star” (new
THURSDAY: 8 p.m., “Rosewood”; 9 p.m., “Prison Break” (new drama)
FRIDAY: 8 p.m., “Masterchef Junior”; 9 p.m., “Sleepy Hollow”
SATURDAY: 8 p.m., “Fox Sports Saturday”
SUNDAY: 7 p.m., Animation repeats; 7:30 p.m., “Bob’s Burgers”; 8 p.m, “The
Simpsons”; 8:30 p.m., “Making History” (new comedy); 9 p.m.,
“Family Guy”; 9:30 p.m., “The Last Man on Earth”


MONDAY: 8 p.m., “Gotham”; 9 p.m. “Lucifer”
TUESDAY: 8 p.m., “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”; 8:30 p.m., “The Mick” (new comedy); 9 p.m. “Pitch” (new drama)
WEDNESDAY: 8 p.m., “Shots Fired” (new drama); 9 p.m., “Empire”
THURSDAY: 8 p.m., “Rosewood”; 9 p.m., “Prison Break” (new drama)
FRIDAY: 8 p.m., “Masterchef Junior”; 9 p.m., “Sleepy Hollow”
SATURDAY: 8 p.m., “Fox Sports Saturday”
SUNDAY: 7 p.m., Animation repeats; 7:30 p.m., “Bob’s Burgers”; 8 p.m, “The
Simpsons”; 8:30 p.m., “Making History” (new comedy); 9 p.m.,
“Family Guy”; 9:30 p.m., “The Last Man on Earth”

And here’s a round-up of what’s new on Fox next year:


“APB”: Inspired by true events, APB is about the Chicago Police Department spiraling out of control amid sky-high crime, officer-involved shootings, cover-ups and corruption.  After witnessing a violent crime first-hand, genius tech billionaire Gideon Reeves (Justin Kirk), decides to do something about it, putting up millions of dollars of his own money to take over the troubled 13th Precinct and reboot it as a private police force: better, faster and smarter than anything seen before. With cutting-edge technology and revolutionary new ideas, Gideon plans to rethink everything about the way cops fight crime. Natalie Martinez, Eric Winter, Ernie Hudson, Taylor Handley, Tamberla Perry and Caitlin Stasey also star.

Executive producers: Matt Nix, Len Wiseman, Dennis Kim, Todd Hoffman, Robert Friedman
Director: Len Wiseman.
Studio: 20th Century Fox TV

“The Exorcist”: More than four decades after the Academy Award-nominated film solidified itself as the greatest horror movie ever made, “The Exorcist” returns in series format as a propulsive psychological thriller following two very different priests tackling one family’s case of horrifying demonic possession. Geena Davis, Alfonso Herrera, Ben Daniels, Brianne Howey, Hannah Kasulka, Alan Ruck and Kurt Egyiawan star.

Executive producers: Jeremy Slater, Rolin Jones, James Robinson, Barbara Wall, David Robinson, Rupert Wyatt (who also directs)
Studio: 20th Century Fox TV

“Lethal Weapon”: Based on the hit movie franchise, “Lethal Weapon” rides along with classic cop duo Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford) and Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans, Sr.) as they work a crime-ridden beat in modern-day Los Angeles.

Executive producers: Matt Miller, McG (who also directs), Dan Lin, Jennifer Gwartz.
Studio: Warner Bros. TV

“Pitch”: The emotional story of young pitcher Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury), a beautiful, tough and incredibly gifted athlete who instantly becomes the most famous person in the country when she’s called up by the San Diego Padres, making her the first woman to play Major League Baseball. Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Ali Larter, Mark Consuelos, Dan Lauria, Michael Beach, Bob Balaban, Mo McRae, Meagan Holder and Tim Jo also star.

Executive producers: Dan Fogelman, Rick Singer, Tony Bill, Helen Bartlett, Jess Rosenthal, Kevin Falls, Paris Barclay (who also directs)
Studio: 20th Century Fox TV

“Prison Break”: In the drama’s new chapter, when clues surface that suggest a previously thought-to-be-dead Michael (Wentworth Miller) may be alive, Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) and Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies) reunite to engineer the series’ biggest escape ever, as three of Fox River State Penitentiary’s most notorious escapees, T-Bag (Robert Knepper), C-Note (Rockmond Dunbar) and Sucre (Amaury Nolasco), are pulled back into the action.

Executive producers: Paul T. Scheuring, Neal Moritz, Marty Adelstein, Dawn Olmstead, Vaun Wilmott, Michael Horowitz and Nelson McCormick (who also directs)
Studio: 20th Century Fox TV

“Shots Fired”: Helen Hunt (“As Good As It Gets,” “The Sessions,” “Mad About You”), Richard Dreyfuss (“The Goodbye Girl,” “Jaws,” “Madoff,” “Mr. Holland’s Opus”) and Stephen Moyer (“The Bastard Executioner,” “True Blood”) have been cast in lead roles in “Shots Fired,” a dramatic new event series that examines the dangerous aftermath of racially charged shootings in a small town in North Carolina. Hunt will portray Patricia Eamons, the fictional governor of North Carolina. Dreyfuss will play Arlen Cox, a real estate mogul and owner of a privatized prison who is intricately involved in the shootings. Moyer will play Officer Breeland, a seasoned veteran in the town’s Sheriff’s Department, who gets caught in the middle of the investigation. Sanaa Lathan, Aisha Hinds and Tristan Wilds will also star.

Executive producers: Gina Prince-Bythewood (who also directs), Reggie Rock Bythewood, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo
Studios: 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine TV

“Star”: Three talented singers navigate the cut-throat music business on their road to success. Featuring three newcomers (Jude Demorest, Ryan Destiny and Brittany O’Grady) as the young singers, plus Queen Latifah and Benjamin Bratt, the series will feature original music, along with stunning musical fantasy sequences, as the girls dream of their future. The series will also feature guest star Lenny Kravitz.

Executive producers: Lee Daniels (who also directs), Tom Donaghy, Pamela Oas Williams and Effie Brown
Studio: 20th Century Fox TV

“24: Legacy”: Starring Corey Hawkins (“Straight Outta Compton”), Miranda Otto (“Homeland”) and Jimmy Smits (“Sons of Anarchy”), “24: Legacy” chronicles an adrenaline-fueled race against the clock to stop a devastating terrorist attack on United States soil – in the same real-time format that has propelled this genre-defining series.

Executive producers: Manny Coto, Evan Katz, Howard Gordon, Brian Grazer, Stephen Hopkins (who also directs) and Kiefer Sutherland
Studios: 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine TV


“Making History”: A chronicle of three friends from two different centuries as they try to balance the thrill of time travel with the mundane concerns of their present-day lives. Two shows in one, it’s both a rollicking historical adventure, and a contemporary comedy about love, friendship and trying to fit in to an increasingly complex and impersonal world. Adam Pally, Leighton Meester and Yassir Lester star.

Executive producers: Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Julius “Goldie” Sharpe, Seth Cohen
Director: Jared Hess
Studio: 20th Century Fox TV

“The Mick”: Mackenzie “The Mick” Murphy (Kaitlin Olson) is a brash, blue collar, two-bit hustler who has spent her entire life gaming the system and shirking any semblance of responsibility.  But when her estranged sister and billionaire brother-in-law flee the country to escape federal charges, the opulent, care-free life Mickey has always envied is finally within reach… But there is one minor catch: she must assume custody of her sister’s three rich, entitled, high-maintenance children.

Executive producers: John Chernin, Dave Chernin, Nick Frenkel, Oly Obst, Randall Einhorn (who also directs)
Studio: 20th Century Fox TV

“Son of Zorn”: Upon arriving home on Earth for the first time in 10 years, Zorn (the voice of Jason Sudeikis), a fully animated, legendary warrior, finds that reconnecting with his live-action son, Alan (Johnny Pemberton), and ex-wife, Edie (Cheryl Hines), while suffering through a mundane office job and the banality of suburban life, is harder than waging actual war in his distant, mystical homeland of Zephyria. Tim Meadows also stars.

Executive producers: Reed Agnew, Eli Jorne, Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Seth Cohen and Eric Appel, who also directs
Studio: 20th Century Fox TV

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